How and why to establish paternity

Do you wish you had child support payments coming in? Trying to raise your child on your own can be full of challenges and unexpected expenses. If you want the father of your child to start paying his fair share, you might want to consider establishing paternity.

Determining paternity can potentially lead to child support payments, but it can also mean the father will have rights to see your child. Here is some of the most important information about pursuing paternity in Florida and getting child support.

How to establish paternity

You can start the court process to determine the legal father of your child. According to the Florida Department of Revenue, if the father does not voluntarily acknowledge paternity, you cannot prove that he is indeed your child's father without genetic tests. If the court approves the tests, the judge may establish paternity during the final hearing.

Benefits for you

If you go through a paternity case, you could end up with child support payments. In some cases, a judge orders child support during the same court hearing. This means you can get the financial assistance you need to take care of your child.

Benefits for the father

When a father becomes legal, he could receive visitation or custody rights. Paternity also means the father may share decision-making authority concerning the child with you.

Benefits for the child

Your child can benefit in various ways when his or her legal father is determined, including:

  • Access to family medical history
  • Father's name on the birth certificate
  • Health insurance coverage, if available
  • Life insurance, if available
  • Social Security benefits, military allowances or veteran's benefits, if applicable
  • Inheritances

Perhaps most importantly, your child will be able to know his or her father and have an ongoing relationship with him.

Establishing paternity can be exciting and scary depending on your situation and your relationship with the father of your child. Consider the benefits and disadvantages, and talk to a family law attorney for help making the right choice.

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Rachel Rall, Attorney at Law, P.A.
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