The Final Step to Fatherhood
Parents are afforded a number of rights and responsibilities upon the birth of their child. While mothers are able to clearly prove their maternity, in certain cases, fathers must take extra steps to have their paternity recognized.
There are a number of benefits to establishing paternity, including:
- Allowing a child to know who their father is
- Giving the child access to a complete family medical and genealogical history
- Having the father’s name on the birth certificate
- Making the child eligible for the father’s health or life insurance
- Making the child eligible to inherit the father’s Social Security benefits, military benefits, and more
- Making both parents eligible for child custody and child support
These rights are automatically assumed when a child is born to married parents. For children born out of wedlock, however, additional steps must be taken. Luckily, there are a few ways that parents may elect to formalize the parent-child relationship of the father.
Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity
Parents may establish paternity immediately upon the birth of their child while still in the hospital. To do so, the two must simply sign a voluntary acknowledgement of paternity. By completing this form, the father’s name will be included on the birth certificate and he will effectively be afforded all the rights associated with paternity.
If a couple does not have the opportunity to establish paternity at the hospital, they may still voluntarily acknowledge it at any point before the child turns 18.
Regardless of when the couple completes the acknowledgement, it will become final and binding 60 days after being signed.
A father could have his parent-child relationship legitimized at any point between the child’s birth and eighteenth birthday. This would happen if the mother and father of the child later married. In this case, paternity can be established when the parents apply for their marriage license.
If parents are unable to declare paternity voluntarily, they can move to have their parental status determined through a court order. The ruling judge will hear the evidence and may order genetic tests. The judge then has the power to decide whether or not to establish paternity.
Paternity actions may be initiated by:
- A legal representative of the child
- The alleged father
- The mother
- The Florida Department of Revenue (only to establish child support)
Parenthood is a coveted gift. Protect your chance to experience it by establishing paternity. Contact Beatriz Zyne, P.A. for help with your case: (305) 876-6138.