Fatherhood can be a fulfilling and rewarding experience, but it also comes with many responsibilities. Paternity is extremely important when it comes to matters of timesharing, visitation, child support, and more. Fort Lauderdale Paternity Lawyer Carmen G. Soto can help resolve your concerns in this area of the law. With 15 years of experience as a family law attorney, she understands that each person’s situation is unique, and she can develop a strategy that is tailored to your specific circumstances.Paternity Actions in Florida
Paternity is a legal action that determines who is the legal father of a child. Therefore, a paternity determination affects the rights and obligations of both the father and the child. People may want to establish paternity for a variety of reasons. A father may want to establish paternity to gain access to his child, to establish a Parenting Plan, that provides for a time sharing schedule with the child. A mother, on the other hand, may want to establish paternity to gain child support from the father.
The filing of a Paternity Action is especially important for fathers. Why? Because when a child is born out-of-wedlock the mother has sole parental responsibility, meaning that the mother has 100% of the rights over the minor child. If an unmarried couple has a child and then break up after the child is born, if the father does not file a Paternity Action the mother of the child can move to another state without notifying the father, leaving the father with no access to his child. Filing a Paternity Action protects the rights of the father against this specifically. It is extremely important.
If you are married, and a child is born during the marriage, the father’s name usually will be listed on the birth certificate, and the court will recognize him as the biological and legal father. When you are not married, a father can either sign the birth certificate when the child is born, agree by court order that he is the biological father or he can take a genetic test or paternity test that compares a man’s DNA profile to that of the child and determines whether or not there is a match. A DNA test is typically used when there is a dispute as to the identity of the father, but these actions only determine who is the biological father. For a father to have specific rights over his child, for example a time sharing plan that gives him specific overnights, weekends, holidays, etc., with his child a father must file a Paternity Action with the Court.
If a father does not establish paternity, the mother has a right to file her own Petition to Establish Paternity so that she may collect child support from the father. This petition can be filed at any time as long as the child is a minor. Moreover, the mother can collect retroactively twenty-four (24) months of child support from the putative father.
In Florida, there is also a way to de-establish paternity if you ever find out your child is not your child. This procedure is codified in Florida Statute 742.18, which explains who is qualified to de-establish paternity and the specific steps that must be taken to do so. This is also extremely important to do immediately after finding out that you may not be the biological father. If you find out and do nothing you may make things much more difficult to resolve later on in Court.Protect Your Rights by Enlisting a Fort Lauderdale Lawyer for a Paternity Action
At the Law Offices of Carmen G. Soto, we can help you establish or contest a determination of paternity. We know that legal fees can be daunting, so we offer flexible payment plans to our clients. Located directly across from the new Broward County Courthouse, we do not charge our clients any travel costs or parking fees. Fort Lauderdale Paternity Attorney Carmen G. Soto also serves people in Pembroke Pines, Hollywood, Miramar, Coral Springs, Pompano Beach, Davie, Plantation, Sunrise, Lauderhill, Weston, Tamarac, Margate, Hallandale Beach, Lauderdale Lakes, and other cities in Broward County. Call us at 954-523-0703 or contact us online to arrange a free consultation with a child support attorney or seek guidance in any other family law matter. Se habla español.