When you establish paternity of your child in Florida, you are becoming the legal father and take on all of the rights and responsibilities that go with that role. The establishment of paternity gives rights to the father, the mother and the child.
It is important to understand what the rights and benefits of each person involved in paternity are.
- The child’s rights: With legal parents, the child will be able to obtain information on the family medical history, will know the identity of their father, will have the father’s name on their birth certificate, can get health insurance coverage from either parent, can get financial support from both parents (such as medical support and child support) and can get benefits from Social Security or the Veteran’s Association and military allowances and inheritances.
- The parents’ benefits: Some of the parents’ benefits are that they can obtain a child support order and they can get the court to order that they have shared time with the child.
Florida generally assumes that if the mother is married to a man when she gives birth, then her husband is the legal father of the child. All married parents have the rights and benefits that were mentioned in this blog.
If the mother was not married when the child was born, someone must establish paternity for the child. it’s not enough just to list a man’s name on the birth certificate.
If paternity must be established, there are a number of ways that it can be done.
If the parents are unmarried but together when the child is born, they can voluntarily establish paternity in the hospital. If the mother marries the father at some point after the birth, paternity can be established when they apply for the marriage license. Another way to establish paternity is with a legal order. That process does not necessarily have to be done in court but it can occur in or out of court.
What happens regarding paternity and child support?
Once you have established paternity with the child, Florida courts have a formula that calculated child support accurately. The formula is based on the incomes of the parents and the time-sharing schedule. It is important to understand that while the formula applies in most cases, there may be some exceptions to the rule when appropriate.