How unmarried Florida fathers can establish paternity

Florida statutes set forth the procedures for determining paternity for a child born to unmarried parents. Unmarried fathers may choose to establish paternity in order to receive fathers' rights such as parenting time or custody. The state will accept paternity that has been established through a hearing before a judge in the context of dependency or inheritance for the child. For example, if paternity was established during a workers' compensation hearing, it would be accepted by the state.

Another method for establishing paternity is for both parents to voluntarily file a notarized document that acknowledges the father's status as the child's biological parent. If, for some reason, it is not possible to file a notarized document, it is also possible to file a document that has been signed by both parents and witnessed by two other individuals. This document is signed with the understanding that, if anyone has committed perjury by signing the document, he or she may be subject to legal penalties.

Both parents are required to provide their Social Security numbers on any document that acknowledges paternity. If there was no hearing before a judge, but an affidavit of paternity was filed, either parent has the right to take back, or rescind, his or her acknowledgment within 60 days of the date the affidavit was signed or the date of a legal proceeding to establish child support, whichever date is the earliest.

There are many factors to consider when a father is making the decision as to whether or not to establish paternity. An attorney with a background in family law may answer questions regarding the legal ramifications of establishing paternity and help a client gain his fathers' rights .

Source: Online Sunshine, "742.10 Establishment of paternity for children born out of wedlock.—", October 21, 2014

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