“Who’s the father” isn’t only a question used on tawdry TV talk shows to get ratings. It’s also a legal determination that brings up many family law issues including child custody, visitation and child support.
Schlegel Law Group in Orlando can provide you with guidance on paternity-related matters.
According to the courts, paternity determines who is the legal father of a child. Florida law presumes that children conceived or born during marriage are the children of the husband and the wife, who then have all the parental rights and obligations that come along with being a parent. Where things get a bit vague is when the mother is unmarried.
A child born to an unmarried mother is not automatically presumed to be the unmarried father’s child, which means the father is not automatically entitled to parental rights such as custody or visitation. He also isn’t automatically obligated to pay child support.
An action for paternity can be brought by any of the following parties:
- A child’s mother seeking child support from her child’s father
- A father seeking parenting time or custody of his child
- A man being forced to pay child support for a child he doesn’t think is his
- The Department of Social Services
Benefits of Determining Paternity
The identification of the biological father can have significant impact on the child’s life. Paternity establishes emotional, social, and economic ties between the father and the child. Among those ties are:
- Benefits Eligibility – The child may be entitled to an inheritance, medical and life insurance benefits, and social security and veteran’s benefits.
- Medical History – The father’s medical history is needed for reasons related to the child’s health. Knowledge of the family’s full history of diseases, illnesses and birth defects can help a doctor diagnose or treat the child.
- Identity – Knowing who is his or her father could lay to rest questions in the child’s mind and provide a sense of security.
- Father figure – Children who grow up with fathers in their life are more likely to succeed in school and become happy, responsible adults.