The legal issue of paternity comes up when there is a question as to who is the biological father of a child or children in a family law case. Establishing this parental right is a very important matter in any family law case as it imputes certain rights and duties to both the father and mother of the child. For instance, a father who establishes paternity will have the benefit of custody and visitation with his child if paternity previously was not established. Similarly, once paternity is established the father may also have a duty to pay child support and to generally provide for the care of the child. Our law firm represents both the fathers and mothers in paternity cases in North Florida.
Paternity is important due to the fact it establishes the legal recognition of the child or children’s father. This right can be established through genetic testing, legitimization, and an acknowledgement by the father that he is the biological parent of the child. If a paternity action is filed by one of the parties, the Court may mandate genetic DNA testing to determine who is the biological father of the child. Once, and if, that determination is made, the Court will then issue an Order establishing paternity. Legitimization occurs when the mother and father of the child later become married after the birth of the child. The mother and father of the child may both agree to the paternity of the child without getting married. When this happens both parties will sign an acknowledgement of paternity whereby the both will legally agree as to who is the father of the child.
The issue of paternity goes hand in hand with other family law issues such as child support, visitation and time sharing. Paternity will become an important issue when the mother is seeking child support, the father is seeking custody, and/or when the biological father is seeking visitation or time sharing. An establishment of paternity will open the doors for the child to receive his father’s inheritance rights, social security benefits, health insurance benefits, veteran’s benefits, and father’s medical history information. A paternity case may be worked out through negotiation or through more involved mediation. Sometimes litigation is needed to fully protect the client’s rights.
Our firm has an in dept understanding of the paternity statutes and the case law interpreting those statutes. If you are a father or mother seeking to enforce your statutory parental rights an experienced Jacksonville paternity lawyer can help. Our firm can help you assert all of your rights when it comes to the family law issue of parental rights. Here you will get experienced and compassionate representation whether your case goes to mediation or litigation. We understand the delicate nature of paternity and how it can benefit both he parent and the child.