In Florida, a paternity action is the legal process of establishing a child’s Father when a child is born to two parties who are not married.  Here is why it is important to establish paternity in Florida.

Why File A Paternity Action? 

If a couple is not married and separates, the father must file a paternity action to establish custody rights to the child.  Under Florida Law, the Mother of a child born to two parties who are not married, is the child’s natural guardian and is entitled to primary care and custody of the child until a court enters an order otherwise.  That means the Mother gets to make all decisions regarding the child’s care and is entitled to full custody.  It doesn’t matter if the Father is on the child’s birth certificate.  In order for the Father to establish legal parental responsibility (the ability to make decisions regarding the child’s care and education with the Mother) and timesharing rights with the child, he must file a paternity action.

Creating A Parenting Plan

When couples are not married, a Parenting Plan that addresses parental responsibility and time sharing is established in the paternity action. This plan can either be uncontested–worked out by the parents and approved by the court, or contested–when parents cannot agree on the terms of the Parenting Plan, the court will decide for them.

In a paternity action, if the father or mother denies the “father” is the biological parent, then the court will order DNA testing to establish whether the male is the father or not. Once that occurs, the court will establish paternity and the legal ramifications and benefits of being a father will become established by the court.

Contact Attorney Alyssa Vanstone For More Information About Establishing Paternity in Florida

Paternity rights for unmarried parents and their children are complicated and couples need a Sarasota lawyer familiar with family law and paternity under the Florida family court. 

If you are a mother or father who has questions regarding paternity, Vanstone Law is here to help– just give us a call!