Minaya Law Office, PLLC

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Fathers have 5 options for establishing paternity

The father-child relationship is one of the more important and consequential in society. Still, unlike mothers whose parentage tends to be obvious, a father may have some uncertainty about whether he is the biological parent of his child. 

Because of the legal ramifications of being a father, Florida law gives dads five options for establishing paternity. 

1. Marriage

If a man is in a lawful marriage with a woman when she gives birth, Florida law automatically presumes he is the father. 

2. Legitimization

A father and mother who were not in a lawful marriage at the time of the child’s birth may decide to walk down the aisle later. When the marriage is official, the father may ask the state’s Office of Vital Statistics to add his name to the child’s birth certificate. 

3. Acknowledgement

An unmarried father may also acknowledge paternity by completing a simple acknowledgement form. Although it is possible to complete the form later, many new fathers sign it at the hospital shortly after the births of their children. 

4. Court order

If there is some dispute about paternity, a father may need to ask a judge to weigh in on the matter. In a paternity hearing, a judge considers relevant evidence and issues a formal order that lists the identity of the child’s father. 

5. Genetic testing

Fathers who want to assert their legal rights often choose to take a voluntary genetic test. The purpose of this test is to prove paternity with scientific certainty. While genetic testing may remove reasonable doubt about the identify of a child’s father, it may also not be the fastest way to establish paternity. 

Nevertheless, whether through genetic testing or something else, fathers have plenty of options for putting their minds at ease. 

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