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A paternity action is used to establish a father’s rights to his children. Paternity actions can be brought by fathers or mothers and involve determinations of child support, timesharing, parental responsibilities, birth expenses, maternity expenses, uncovered medical expenses and related matters. Florida also has a law that allows a father to seek disestablishment of paternity.

About Paternity Actions

Paternity actions address the custody of the child. The Court will enter an order setting forth a timesharing schedule that will control when each parent sees the child. The timesharing schedule, along with factors such as income, daycare cost, and health insurance cost will be used to determine child support. In a paternity action, child support can be sought for two years before the action was filed, and for future payments. Paternity actions have large financial issues and a profound affect on the parents’ future relationships with the child.

Department of Revenue Cases

The Florida Department of Revenue is often involved in paternity cases—these cases use different procedures than cases that do not involve the Department of Revenue. One key difference is that the Department of Revenue case will not address the father’s rights to timesharing or custody. Instead, the mother will receive all timesharing with the child and all decision-making power. If the father wants to assert his rights to the child, then he has to take specific steps in this proceeding. The Windle Family Law Firm is experienced in handling cases involving the Department of Revenue and understands how to protect a father’s rights throughout these proceedings.

Establishing Paternity

Regardless of whether you are the mother or father of a child, establishing paternity is important from a legal standpoint. Providing the child’s father’s name on the birth certificate is not the same as the father being “adjudicated” or Court ordered as the father of a child in a court proceeding. The Windle Family Law Firm handles Court proceedings to establish paternity and has experience dealing with both contested and uncontested cases. These cases allow parents to establish their respective rights with regard to timesharing, custody, decision-making, and child support.

Disestablishment of Paternity

Florida allows for disestablishment of paternity under certain circumstances in which a father discovers he is not actually a child’s biological father. These proceedings can allow for the termination of financial obligations to the child, and will allow the Court to identify the child’s biological father. The Windle Family Law Firm understands the complexity and unique rules of these proceedings and is available to help you if you have been named as the father of a child that is not truly yours.

Birth Certificate

Being named on a child’s birth certificate is not the same as being declared a child’s father by the Court. If a child is born to a father and mother that are not married, then filling out the birth certificate will not be sufficient. The Windle Family Law Firm is experienced in assisting parents through the process of a paternity proceeding, and establishing the father’s rights and duties.

When a Husband if not the Father of a Child

When a wife gives birth to a child that is not her husband’s, unique legal issues arise. Florida law presumes that a husband is the father of his wife’s child; therefore, in some instances, the real father of a child is not allowed to assert rights to his own baby. If you are involved in this type of situation, please contact us for more information.