Paternity is a complex legal issue that affects every member of a Florida family. There likely are various reasons why paternity is not immediately clear or legally recognized, but either the mother or father may move to do so at any time. Once established, this would outline both the rights and responsibilities of both parents.
Establishing paternity is the legal process of declaring the identity of a child's biological father. There are benefits to doing this, including benefits for the children. If you are a father seeking rightful access to your children or you are a mother seeking financial support, you may need to know how this process works in Florida.
Why establish paternity?
There are many reasons why a father or mother would want to navigate the legal process to establish paternity. The benefits of this for the child include:
- Allowing the child to know his or her father
- Providing way for child to have important family medical history information
- Having father's name printed on birth certificate
- Having financial support from both parents
- Providing possibility of insurance from both biological parents
- Allowing child to get veteran's benefits or Social Security benefits if the father passes away
In addition to the above reasons, legally establishing paternity can be beneficial in that it can provide a child security regarding his or her parents. Children thrive when they are allowed access to both parents, even if the parents were never married, and establishing paternity can be the first step in this process.
Paternity and child support
Upon knowing the identity of the father, he will then be obligated to pay child support for his child or children. When the mother does not know who the child's father is or the name is not on the birth certificate, it can be difficult to secure this type of financial support.
In addition to outlining the financial responsibilities of the father, establishing paternity may also give him the right to visitation with his children. He may also then have a say in major decisions regarding the care, upbringing and education of his child.
Protecting the best interests of your child
Whether you are the mother or the father, the ultimate goal of establishing paternity is to protect and uphold the best interests of your child. If you need additional child support, want time with your kids or simply want to clarify the information on your child's birth certificate, you would benefit from a full explanation of your rights and legal options.