When a man is not named on a child’s birth certificate, a paternity action is needed to determine that the man is the child’s biological father and to establish his rights and responsibilities. A paternity action is the legal process used to establish the paternity of a child. This is most often done by using DNA analysis of a swab test or a blood test. In the state of Florida, a paternity action may be filed by the child’s mother, the man involved or even by the child.
Some of the reasons a paternity action may be needed include:
• To verify a child’s identity or to give a child a needed identity.
• To assist the establishment of a health history that may be needed for a child’s medical treatment.
• To determine whether or not child support is owed.
• To determine whether or not the people involved qualify for public assistance.
• To allow a child to receive Social Security, health insurance, inheritance or a veteran’s benefits.
• To determine the child’s place in a line of succession for the purpose of receiving benefits from the biological father.
• To allow the father to pursue custody or have visitation rights.
• To allow the father’s name to be placed on the child’s birth certificate.
• To allow the father to take part in making decisions regarding things such as the child’s medical care and education.
• To allow the father to view medical and educational records.
If you are going through a paternity action, you may wonder if you will be able to visit and communicate with your child. Unfortunately, when a child is born outside of a marriage the father has few custodial rights unless they are secured by establishing paternity. This means you will not have the legal right to communication and visitation rights during the process. It is only after the paternity has been established that a father receives parental rights and responsibilities, and he may then seek visitation rights. These are all details that will be determined in Court through the paternity action process.
Cases involving paternity can naturally be very emotional and distressing for both the child and the parents involved. Compounding that is the fact that many times those involved—especially the man—are not fully aware of their rights. That is why it’s strongly advised that you seek the counsel of an attorney who has a great deal of experience in family law and the rights of fathers if you wish to establish paternity.
The family law attorneys at Parker & DuFresne can help you through the process of filing a paternity action. We can also assist you if you are the subject of a paternity action. Call us today at 904-733-7766 to learn more about your paternity rights.