When a child is born in Florida, an important determination that is always made is the determination of the baby’s paternity, in other words who the father is. This happens in a straightforward manner. If the baby’s parents are married to each other, the husband of the mother is legally presumed to be the baby’s father. If the parents are not married to each other, the baby’s paternity must be established with a legal process. This blog post will discuss this legal process in a little more detail.

One way to establish the father’s paternity is for the father to sign an acknowledgment of paternity. This will guarantee him all the rights, obligations and privileges appertaining to the role of father. Very often men will voluntarily sign such an acknowledgment when they are confident they are the father and want to play an active role in the child’s life. Sometimes, however, men do not wish to be subject to these rights, obligations and privileges, so they do not voluntarily sign an acknowledgment. Then what?

In this case, it may be possible to establish paternity through formal proceedings. This is a formal court process where a man’s paternity is proved for legal purposes. Regardless of whether paternity is established voluntarily or involuntarily, the father acquires some rights, such as the right to custody or visitation of the baby. The father also acquires some responsibilities, such as the responsibility to pay child support if ordered to do so by a court.

Establishment of paternity is sometimes a complex legal process. Many mothers and putative fathers going through the process find the help of legal representation to be vital.