Tampa Paternity Lawyer
Parents have certain legal rights and responsibilities when it comes to their children. For instance, parents are legally obligated to financially support their offspring, but also, with a few exceptions, have the right to visit or have access to those children. However, a person can only assert these rights if he or she is determined to be a child’s legal parent. When a couple is married, the exercise of these rights and responsibilities is usually not an issue because under Florida law, any child born to a woman during marriage is automatically presumed to be the biological child of the woman’s husband. Things can become much more complicated when two parents are not married at the time of the child’s birth. In these cases, the parties will need to take certain steps if they want to ensure that the child’s father has rights to visitation and the obligation to pay child support.
Establishing paternity can be a difficult process, especially if one of the child’s parents opposes it, so if you have questions about how to prove that you are the biological father of your child or someone is falsely claiming to be your child’s other parent, it is critical to speak with an experienced Tampa paternity lawyer as soon as possible about your legal options.
Although most people associate establishing paternity with DNA tests and court orders, there are actually a number of ways to establish one’s status as a child’s father. For instance, when a child’s father is present at the hospital at the time of the birth, but is not married to the mother, he has the option of signing a form, in which he officially acknowledges paternity. However, this option is not available if a child’s mother is married to someone else, even if she acknowledges that the child is not the biological offspring of her husband. Couples who were not married when they had a child, but later decide to get married can also add the father’s name to the child’s birth certificate if it is not already listed by completing and submitting an affirmation of paternity.
It is also possible in Florida to establish paternity of a child by filing a civil action in court. In these cases, courts usually order DNA testing, which can be done at a variety of different times, including before the child is born. This is known as prenatal testing and involves taking a blood sample from the mother, isolating the child’s DNA from that sample, and comparing it to the sample provided by the alleged father.
Postnatal testing is much more common and simply involves comparing a child’s blood or DNA sample (collected from a cheek swab) to the alleged father’s DNA. Once the results are in, a judge will issue a ruling on the child’s paternity. However, in some cases, testing is not even necessary, as courts are permitted to issue an order establishing paternity if a child’s alleged father is given notice of the legal proceedings, but chooses not to attend.
Contact Our Tampa Paternity Lawyers Today
To learn more about the process of demonstrating your biological relationship to a child, please contact one of the dedicated Tampa paternity lawyers at The Pawlowski//Mastrilli Law Group by calling 813-242-4404 today.