Messer & Messer Law Offices

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Establish paternity to secure future support for your child

In Florida and in jurisdictions throughout the rest of the country parents are expected to provide financial support for the children that they bring into the world. To this end when a person is legally recognized as the parent to a child then they become liable for that child's well-being and maintenance. At the hospital mothers are easily identified as the parents to their children but depending upon a mother's marital status the father of the child may be more difficult to determine.

A child who is born to married parents is presumed to be the offspring of their mother and her spouse. Testing is not required in most cases to determine a child's paternity when they are born into this factual scenario. Additionally, if a child is born to unmarried parents but both parents acknowledge the child's paternity at the hospital then both parents will be noted on the child's birth certificate and additional testing will likely not be needed.

When a mother gives birth to a child and does not acknowledge a father, complications can later arise if that mother wishes for her child to receive financial support from their other parent. In cases such as this a presumptive father may be ordered to submit to genetic testing to determine if he is the biological parent to the child for whom support has been requested.

If a man is found to be the parent of a child he may be mandated to pay support for the child's welfare. However, the establishment of paternity for a man may also provide him with his own parental rights, such as the right to seek custody and visitation time with his child and the right of his child to be a beneficiary to the father's benefits. Establishing paternity is an important step is providing child support to a child but also necessary to give a father a chance to be involved in his child's life.

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