Take the Steps to Prove Paternity Now
Raising children as a single parent is physically, emotionally, and financially challenging. If you were unmarried to the father, their name may not have been listed on the birth certificate and you are likely not receiving the child support you are entitled to. While it is common for parents to put off initiating legal proceedings, proving paternity requires minimal effort and provides major benefits for you and your child. If you have been putting off this important step, we encourage you to take action now.
Proving Paternity Through the Florida Courts
Paternity is established if you were married to the father at the time your child was born or if they voluntarily acknowledge paternity and are willing to be listed on the birth certificate. If neither of these applies in your case, you may need to file legal documents to get paternity proven in the court.
The courts take a strong stand when it comes to protecting the rights of children and the duty parents have in providing support. Under the Florida Statutes, the mother of a child can request legal proceedings to determine paternity in any situation in which she knows or suspects a particular man is the father of her child. Steps involved in this process include:
- Through her attorney, a petition can be filed through the court naming the man suspected of being the father.
- The party will be notified and a hearing will be scheduled, at which genetic testing will be conducted.
- A mouth swab will be taken from the mother, suspected father, and the infant so that testing can be run.
- These tests are highly accurate, with little chance of error. If the test comes back positive, the man is presumed as the father.
Paternity proceedings are fairly straight forward but it can take some time to locate the father and to get a final order issued. For this reason, you should act now, rather than wait. The sooner you initiate paternity proceedings, the sooner your child gets the support and other benefits they deserve.
The Benefits of Proving Paternity
As the result of paternity proceedings, the father’s name will be listed on the birth certificate and a child support order will be put in place. If support is not paid it can be enforced through the Florida Department of Revenue. Actions they can take include wage garnishment, seizure of money in financial accounts, seizure of tax refunds and lottery winnings, liens on property, and suspension of the father’s driver’s license until the debt is paid. In addition to child support, proving paternity also provides the following benefits:
- Allows the child to be listed on the father’s health insurance policy;
- Enables your child to collect on the fathers veteran’s or Social Security benefits;
- Gives the child inheritance rights, in the event something happens to the father.
Let Us Help You with Your Case
As an experienced Fort Lauderdale paternity attorney, Vanessa L. Prieto helps mothers and their children get the benefits they are entitled to. Call or contact our office today and schedule a consultation to discuss your options.