A paternity action in Florida seeks a legal declaration as to the identity of the father. It is often necessary when the parents of the child or children never got married. In such as case, once the court determines who the father is, the court will then address timesharing and child support issues. In the past, blood tests were used to determine paternity however, with the onset of DNA testing, the results are 99% accurate. Otherwise stated, blood tests were not fully accurate in determining paternity. There is also legal provisions that call for a second DNA test if the first test is contested.
In the past, only women could file a paternity action. Hence, if a woman decided to forego child support, the father had no recourse and could be prevented from visiting with his or her child or children. Nowadays, however, the statute has been amended to allow for men to file a paternity action. This allows men to fight for their parental rights and seek child support, if the circumstances warrant. Since the parties were never married, neither alimony can be awarded nor property issues resolved, if any.
The same standards apply to resolving parenting issues and child support in paternity cases akin to divorce actions. Keep in mind that mothers have no more rights and fathers have no lesser rights given the fact that the parties were not married to each other at the time their child is born.
There may be challenges that arise when a child is born and the mother is married to another individual who is not the father of her child or children. If the biological father does not fight for his or her rights in this regard, there could be an issue of forfeiture down the road if he tries to assert his rights at a later time. This could psychologically damage a child, which the courts try to prevent in handling paternity matters.
Likewise, if a mother does not seek a paternity action for several years after the birth of her child before she files a lawsuit against the person she thinks is the father and then pursues child support retroactively, there are waiver defenses that the father can raise in this situation.
Attorney Beryl Thompson-McClary has 28 years of Family law experience in Florida and she is dedicated to achieving the very best results for her clients. Schedule a confidential consultation today, at no cost to you, by calling our Orlando, Florida office at (888) 640-2999.