How Can I Legally Establish Paternity?

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When a child is born to a woman who is legally married, or is a common law spouse, the husband is naturally presumed to be the father of the child. This means his name will go onto the birth certificate of the child. However when either spouse denies the paternity of the child, or the child is born to an woman who is not married, it will be important to legally establish paternity.

Why Establish Paternity

There are several reasons to establish paternity. When parents are unmarried, there are two primary ways to establish paternity:

  • Voluntarily signing an “Acknowledgment of Paternity” or “Affidavit of Paternity” document
  • Going through a formal court proceeding with a Tampa family lawyer

Determining the paternity of a child can be beneficial to all parties involved. These include:

  • It can assist in the identity of the child, who they are, and where they come from.
  • The father can know that he is the child’s parent.
  • It is fundamental in building a father-child relationship.
  • It must be established before a court can order custody, visitation, or child support.
  • It may help doctors understand any important medical history or genetic traits.
  • Legal parents have the right to access information such as school and medical records, juvenile records, religious records, and so forth.
  • It gives the child legal rights to inheritances, their fathers’ health insurance, and medical records.

How Can I Legally Establish Paternity?

A family lawyer in Tampa, FL can explain to you a few ways that paternity can be established. These are as follows:

Uncontested Paternity

When the child is born to a married couple, and neither parent denies the paternity of the child, the husband will be named as the father.

When a mother is not married, but neither parent opposes the paternity, an Affidavit of Paternity may need to be completed by the mother and father. Every state has its own laws regarding this process and can be explained in detail by a skilled Tampa family lawyer.

Contested Paternity

When the paternity of a child is being contested, most states will require a DNA test through saliva or blood. Once the results come back, an Affidavit of Paternity will usually need to be filed.

Denying a Paternity Test

If the mother or father is denying a paternity test, it is advisable to consult a family lawyer in Tampa, FL. In this circumstance, the lawyer may ask a judge to legally order the parent, or both parents, to submit to a DNA test. If this is refused, a judge could hold him or her in contempt of court; thereby, resulting in fines and/or jail time.

Talk with a Family Lawyer from The Mckinney Family Law Group

Most family law matters are complex and stressful. Furthermore legislation and rules can vary by state which could make your own situation difficult to understand. An experienced family lawyer will be able to listen to your circumstances and guide you through the right process. Call a family lawyer Tampa FL trusts now.