Paternity is just one part of parental rights in Florida

A recent post here discussed the importance for children, parents and families to determine paternity in Florida. But, a paternity action involves not simply determining paternity alone. In addition to establishing the biological father of the child, determining paternity also involves child custody and child support determinations. Determining paternity establishes the biological father of a child when the parents are unmarried, but also has an impact on determining custody rights and child support, which is important for parents and children.

Once paternity has been determined, child custody, visitation and child support can also be established. Paternity may be determined through DNA testing and, in some circumstances, required documents. When setting child support, the family law court considers the income of the parents and if the parents share residential responsibility for the child, or if one parent has primary residential responsibility for the child.

Child support guidelines are used in Florida to determine child support. The court can generally deviate by 5 percent from the child support guidelines without findings, but to deviate by more than 5 percent the family law court provides written findings explaining the deviation. The court will also consider a child custody and visitation agreement once paternity has been established.

It is important for parents to be familiar with how to protect their parental rights. One important part of protecting parental rights is determining paternity, but understanding how the child support and child custody processes work in Florida is also important, which is why the family law court provides resources to help.

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