Being a father is one of the biggest joys for many Florida men. However, if a man has any doubts about whether he is the father of a child, he has certain rights. These are some of the different options available for establishing paternity.
One of the simplest ways a man can establish paternity of a child is through voluntary acknowledgment. This means that he believes he is the father, and there is no dispute between him and the child’s mother about it. When this is the case, both parents can sign a form, “Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity,” under oath. Once the form is filed, it becomes official and binding 60 days later.
Marriage or legitimization
When men are married to the mothers of their children, Florida allows them to establish paternity. This applies regardless of whether the child was conceived before or during the marriage. In other words, even if the woman had sexual relations with another man and got pregnant, the husband assumes paternity.
Legitimization is another way that men can establish paternity of a child. This means that the couple may not have been married during the time the child was born; however, if the parents get married, it confirms the man’s paternity.
Signing the birth certificate
If the man is in an unmarried relationship with the woman during the time of the child’s birth, he can establish paternity right at the hospital. This can be done when the man signs the birth certificate, acknowledging that he is, indeed, the baby’s father. This is one of the easiest ways to establish paternity.
Sometimes, the man has doubts that he is the child’s father and will deny it. In that situation, he or the mother can request genetic testing to put any doubts to rest. The test doesn’t require any blood. Instead, cheek swabs are taken from the mother, the supposed father and the child. The samples are sent to a laboratory for DNA testing to determine whether there’s a match.
Establishing paternity is a good way to solidify a father-child relationship. It also helps when custody and child support are needed.