Ian C. Hurley understands that paternity issues can be stressful. He has the knowledge and experience to help you establish or contest paternity effectively.
Under Florida law, paternity may be established through marriage – a child born during a marriage is presumed to be the child of the husband, or through the Florida courts by an Establishment of Paternity case.
Paternity gives both the child and the parents of the child certain rights.
Through paternity, a child is entitled to:
A parent also receives legal rights through paternity and is entitled to visitation or custody, to receive child support and to be involved in legal decisions concerning the child.
If a child is not the product of a marriage, there are four ways to establish paternity:
When paternity is contested, either the mother of a child, or any man who thinks he may be the father can bring a petition to establish paternity. Both parties must attend a hearing to present evidence and the judge may order genetic testing for everyone involved. If an alleged father chooses not to participate, a court may make him the “default” legal father which will require him to pay child support, if requested.
Any male who believes he fathered a child out of marriage may file with the Florida Putative Father Registry to put his parental rights on record. To do this he must consent to potential DNA testing and be willing to support the child. The alleged father must then be contacted if the child is to be put up for adoption.
If a man doesn’t believe he is the father of a child, he can contest paternity with a paternity petition. This petition must be served on the current legal guardian of the child and include an affidavit from the father alleging he is not the child’s biological father and has evidence to prove it. Paternity is usually disproved by genetic testing.