Children are born with biological mothers and biological fathers, and while it is straightforward to determine the maternity of a child at the time of birth, paternity is not always as clear. Under the law, certain presumptions grant men paternal rights over children born to their spouses and committed others. However, if there is a question regarding whom a child’s father might be, then the Florida courts may order paternity testing to take place.

Paternity testing can be done through comparing biological information from a man to that of a child. Based on a comparison of their DNA it is possible to see if they share genetic material. Paternity can be established with a high degree of certainty using DNA and genetic testing.

Once paternity is established, a man may have rights to seek visitation with and custody of their child. He may be afforded the opportunity make decisions about his child’s care through legal custody and may be able to develop a relationship with the child who previously was not acknowledged to be his.

When a man is deemed to be the parent of a child he may also be required to provide financial support for the care and maintenance of his offspring. He may become subject to a child support agreement or order that will bind him to providing his child with money on which the child will live.

Through the establishment of paternity a man may gain parental rights over his child but he also may become responsible for that child’s welfare and care. Readers who have questions about paternity and parentage are encouraged to discuss their legal needs and concerns with family law attorneys.