The importance of determining paternity in family law matters

A paternity action can be used to establish parentage when the parents of a child are not married. A paternity action can be brought by either parent -- including the mother or putative father of the child -- to establish the biological father of a child. Paternity can be used to establish child custody, visitation or child support obligations. Either documents or DNA testing can be utilized to determine paternity.

A determination of paternity can be important for a variety of reasons, including the emotional impact it can have on the child. It can also provide the child with important beneficiary status and medical history and health information. A paternity action can help protect parental rights. And once parentage of the child is determined, the father may then seek child custody and visitation of the child and the custodial parent.

Florida child support guidelines are used to establish child support obligations and orders. According to the child support guidelines, the court considers factors such as income and the child custody arrangement when determining child support. The court is permitted some discretion when determining child support obligations -- but its discretion is limited.

Child support and child custody issues can be emotional and sometimes stressful issues for parents and families to address and sort out. The family law process provides options for parents and families facing different circumstances to help address their needs and concerns. An important starting point for many parents and families may be an action to establish paternity.

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