I want to understand how paternity is determined in Florida. Is there information available about the process?
Children benefit from knowing who their legal father is. In addition to being entitled to financial support, paternity can help the child understand his or her family medical history, entitle him or her to health and life insurance benefits from the father, inherit from the father and add the father’s name to his or her birth certificate.
In Florida, if the child is born to parents who are married to each other he or she automatically has a legal father. If the mother is not married when the child is born, paternity will need to be established.
Paternity court orders
A judge can determine paternity by a court order. First, the party who files the action for paternity must make the alleged father aware of the proceeding by serving notice to him.
Before the hearing takes place to determine paternity, the parents can agree to legal paternity by signing a consent order. If they sign a consent order, the court will usually accept it and issue a final order.
If the alleged father does not appear at the hearing, the court may decide to enter a default judgment and name the alleged father as the child’s legal father. Also, the court may order a genetic test to determine whether he is the father and both parents may be required to share that cost.
If a person has questions about the paternity process or the obligations that accompany a finding of paternity, an experienced family law attorney can help.