Orlando Fathers’ Rights & Paternity Attorneys
As a father going through a divorce or custody dispute, you may be concerned that you will not be treated fairly or fully heard due to an inherent bias in favor of granting custody rights to mothers over fathers, especially when the children are young. Although these perceptions are outdated and are not reflected in the law, they can still exist and be difficult to overcome, particularly if you are the primary wage earner in the household, which can make you seem less available to spend time raising your children while also being the parent more capable of paying support. At Hancock & Associates, P.A., our Orlando Fathers’ Rights & Paternity Attorneys are sensitive to the many ways bias can interfere with obtaining a just and fair result in Florida family law matters. Whether representing mothers or fathers, we work hard to see that our clients’ interests are properly represented and fully reflected in the outcome of any Florida family law matter.
Establishing Paternity is Essential to Parenting and Support
A child’s legal father is legally entitled to share in the physical raising of his child and making important legal decisions regarding his child’s education, medical care, religious upbringing and welfare. At the same time, a child’s legal father is also legally bound to share in the financial support of his children. Paternity does not only affect the rights and responsibilities of fathers, but is important for the child in many ways. Knowing one’s biological parentage is important for medical reasons, and having an established legal father can have implications for health insurance, social security and other benefits, and inheritance rights.
Whether you are a father seeking to ensure a role in parenting and timesharing, or a mother seeking to ensure the payment of child support, it is critical that paternity be settled if the issue has not yet been legally established. There are a number of ways that paternity can be established under Florida law:
- Marriage – If the mother is married at the time she gives birth to the child, her husband is presumed to be the child’s father. This presumption can be overcome if evidence to the contrary is presented.
- Legitimation – If the parents marry after the child is born, the husband will then be considered the child’s legal father. The parents can have the child’s birth record updated through the Florida Bureau of Vital Statistics to show the husband as the father of the child.
- Acknowledgement – Paternity can be established by an unmarried couple through the process of signing an acknowledgement of paternity. This document can be signed at the hospital or later at the Florida Health Department, Bureau of Vital Statistics, or a DCF office.
- Administrative Order – An administrative order for paternity may be issued following genetic testing that establishes the father’s parentage.
- Court Order – If other evidence is available which supports or refutes a father’s alleged parentage, litigation and a courtroom hearing may be necessary, concluding with a judge making a judicial determination of paternity.
Skilled and Knowledgeable Representation in Florida Fathers’ Rights & Paternity
Hancock & Associates represents individuals in paternity proceedings and other family law matters impacting parental rights, including stepparent adoption, domestic violence restraining orders, proposed relocation, modification and enforcement of court orders, and more. In Orlando, Tampa & across central Florida, call 407-894-0853 to discuss your situation with a Orlando Fathers’ Rights & Paternity Attorney.