Kathy D. Sheive Attorney at Law

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When is it important to establish paternity?

As an unmarried father in Florida, you may know that it can sometimes be difficult to protect your role in the life of your child. Many parents who were unmarried at the time of the child's birth find that they are able to work together to provide stability and security for their child through mutual agreement. However, verbal agreements do not always work, and it may be necessary to take specific steps to protect your rights as a father.

In some cases, whether because you want to fight for regular access to your children or you want to provide security for your children, it may be necessary to legally establish paternity. Matters pertaining to the establishment of paternity can be complex, but you may find it beneficial to seek experienced guidance as you walk through this process.

What should you know about paternity?

There is an assumption of paternity when the two parents are in a marriage at the time of the birth, as well as when the mother puts the father's name on the birth certificate. If it is necessary to seek to establish paternity, there are many reasons why this could be beneficial for you, including for the following reasons:

  • It can allow you the right to have an active role in the life of your child, such as through regular visitation.
  • You may be able to have a say in important decisions made for your child.
  • It can provide a sense of financial and emotional security for your child to have two active parents in his or her life.

Establishing paternity may be as simple as both you and the child's mother completing certain paperwork. It may be more complicated if the mother disputes paternity or refuses to cooperate. You can still fight to establish your rightful role as the father, but you may find it helpful to secure help as you do so. 

Your role as a father is critical

Children do better when they are able to have a strong relationship with both parents. Legally establishing paternity will not only allow you to have the right to seek custody and visitation rights, but it could also have many benefits for your child.

If you think this may be a necessary step for you, it could be helpful to start with a complete evaluation of your case. Paternity matters are not easy to resolve, but you do not have to walk through it alone.

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