Coral Springs & Boca Raton Paternity Lawyer
Coral Springs & Boca Raton Paternity Lawyers for Important Child Custody and Support Matters
If a child is not born during a marriage then paternity has not yet been conclusively established pursuant to Florida law. The lack of legally established paternity can have profound impact on a father’s right to participate in parenting and timesharing, as well as the obligation to pay child support. The experienced Coral Springs paternity lawyers at HVW Law Group in Coral Springs and Boca Raton handle paternity actions on behalf of mothers and fathers throughout Broward and Palm Beach counties. Learn more about Florida’s complex paternity laws below, and contact HVW Law Group for a consultation or immediate assistance.
Florida Laws on Paternity
A child’s parentage is legally established if both parents are married when the child is born. In the case of unmarried parents, parentage can be established if the father voluntarily acknowledges paternity after birth, which can be done at the hospital or later at the courthouse by filing a witnessed and notarized affidavit. A later marriage by the parents can also serve to legitimize the child’s parentage. The mere act of signing the birth certificate does not establish paternity, it only raises the presumption of paternity.
Absent any of these procedures, court action may be necessary to legally establish paternity. A paternity lawsuit is typically necessary when one party is seeking to establish paternity and be accorded legally enforceable timesharing and parenting rights to the child. The establishment of paternity may be challenged by several individuals, including the child’s mother, the putative (alleged) father, the child him or herself, or if the mother is married, her husband.
DNA evidence is frequently used in paternity cases, but it does not offer conclusive proof of paternity, and other evidence and testimony can still be critical to establishing or challenging paternity. Our experienced lawyers have the litigation background necessary to understand the benefits of scientific testing as well as its limitations. We utilize all available resources in pursuing or challenging paternity lawsuits.
How does a Paternity case start?
Florida has alternative methods for legally establishing paternity and the attendant timesharing and parenting rights. One way cases may be initiated is through the Department of Revenue. The Department of Revenue pursues child support orders on behalf of the mothers in the State of Florida. Through the Department of Revenue case a child’s paternity can be legally established and new laws enable the Department of Revenue to now enter basic parenting and timesharing plans that are legally enforceable court orders. The Department of Revenue uses the mail to send the father crucial information regarding his rights and his ability to object to the orders it is entering. If you have received any notices from the Department of Revenue regarding establishing child support, you must act diligently to protect your rights.
Case can also be initiated in circuit court in Broward County and Palm Beach County. The matter is initiated through a Petition to Establish Paternity. A court of competent jurisdiction can then enter orders regarding timesharing, parenting and child support. The filing of a matter in circuit court does not automatically stop the Department of Revenue from proceeding, they have concurrent jurisdiction. If you have received notice that there is a pending paternity action in either court, the lawyers of HVW Law Group will guide you through the very complex paternity laws and ensure the protection of your relationship with your child.
Why Paternity is so Important to Parents and Children
A child’s father is legally obligated to support the child financially. A formal declaration of paternity may be necessary in order for the mother to receive child support from the child’s father. Establishing paternity also gives the father a legal right to share in the custody of the child and participate in a legally-enforceable parenting plan and timesharing arrangement.
The child can also personally benefit in numerous ways from having paternity established. These including having the legal right to inherit from the father, and receiving social security or veterans’ benefits based on the father’s record of service. It can also be critical as the child grows up to know his or her family history and medical history, which can be especially important when the child is ready to marry and start a family of his or her own. Finally, simply knowing one’s paternity and having it legally established can be important emotionally and psychologically as well.
Trust Your Paternity Matter to Coral Springs and Boca Raton Child-Focused Family Lawyers
If you are seeking to establish paternity for yourself or co-parent, or if you are being sued for paternity and need to defend yourself, contact HVW Law Group at 954-255-5655 to get in touch with a team of knowledgeable and experienced Coral Springs paternity lawyers.