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  • What happens in a Paternity Action?

The court determines the legal father of a child. This may or may not be the biological father of the child.
​To make the paternity determination, the court considers factors such as:
1. Marriage of the mother
2. Birth Certificate
3. Biology
4. And most important of all, "The Best Interest of the Child"

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  •  Why is a paternity action necessary?

Under Florida law, if the parties are not married at the time the child is born, paternity is necessary to guarantee the father his rights under the law (as well as child support obligations). If the father’s name is on the birth certificate, he is presumed to be the father, so testing is likely not necessary.  If the father’s name is not on the birth certificate, then DNA testing will be ordered.  However, a paternity action is still needed to establish a time-sharing schedule and child support.


  • What are the pros of getting paternity established?

The biggest pro of getting paternity established is having legal rights to the child, if you are the father. Until paternity is established, the man does not have any legal rights to the child (meaning a right to visit with the child or participate in any decision making involving the child). Another pro of having paternity established is if you were previously put on a child support payment plan (yes, you can be ordered to pay child support even if paternity has not been established if you were on the birth certificate and are therefore the biological father), you can possibly have the child support modified based on the amount of visitation that you have with the child (child support is calculated using a formula which takes into consideration income of both parties, as well as the amount of time that each party spends with the child).


  • What is the process?  
  1. Petition filed – this tells the court about the situation. The other party is served with the paperwork. In addition to the Petition, the parties must file a Financial Affidavit, Notice of Social Security Number (this will be kept private from anyone not involved in the case), and the Uniform Child Custody and Enforcement Act, and a proposed parenting plan.​
  2. Answer filed – this responds to the petition. The other party tells the court and you if they agree or disagree to the things you said in the petition. A person has 20 days from the time they are served the petition to file the answer.​
  3. DNA Test – If the other party contests paternity, the court may order a DNA test.​
  4. Disclosure of documents - The parties must exchange documents under Mandatory Disclosure that deals with the finances they listed on the financial affidavit, including items such as tax returns, bank statements, and pay stubs.​
  5. Mediation – Florida courts encourage parties to come to a resolution on their own, with the help of a mediator. At mediation, both parties are heard and the mediator tries to help them come to a solution on all or some issues. If an agreement is reached at mediation, a proposed order is sent to the judge and this is the last step.​
  6. Trial – An opportunity for both parties to tell the court their position on any unresolved issues and the court will make a decision.

 


  • How long will it take?

Typically, the entire process will take about 6 months.



Additional Paternity Details

If you and another person share a child (or children) and are no longer together, it is best to have the court sign an order establishing a time-sharing schedule and child support. This will aid you and the other person in moving forward in raising and supporting your child (children). If you were never married, the process to do this is called a paternity action.

  • Can Paternity be terminated?
    If you are not the biological father of a child, you may have options to terminate duties to pay child support. In limited circumstances, the court may order that someone is no longer the legal father of a child and no longer obligated to pay any child support. Note by terminating paternity, the petitioning party loses the ability to request visitation or custody of the child.

    Paternity Actions often include long and frustrating legal actions and court rulings. To learn more about your rights, obligations, and options in a Paternity Action, call Jordan Law Today.

​Paternity Claims

In Florida, courts can make decisions about child support, custody, visitation, ability to travel and many other aspects of a child's life. Depending on your legal parental status, you may be able to influence the court's ruling if you have first established legal Paternity over the child. We specialize in Florida Paternity Law and with that, understanding Paternity rights and claims can make the difference. So let us help you understand your Paternity Action.

PATERNITY LAW

To see what family legal help we can provide, give us a call today at (407)906-JLAW (5529)

​What you need to know

  • What is Paternity?
    Paternity is the established state of being a parent, usually referring to the father.

  • Who can file a Paternity Action?
    1. The mother of the child
    2. Any man who believes himself to the biological father
    3. The child in question
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