Paternity can be a sensitive issue, but it’s important you understand the facts surrounding the legal establishment of paternity and why it is a crucial component of many cases. Here’s what you need to know.
1. Can Paternity Be Assumed?
Paternity is only assumed in cases of a married couple. It is not necessary to legally establish paternity when a married couple gets a divorce in order for the father of the child to have rights to custody and/or visitation. However, in order to legally prove that a husband is not the father of a child born to a married couple, paternity testing is required.
2. When Is Paternity Testing Necessary?
If an unmarried couple is separating and the father wishes to have legal rights to the child, he must establish legal paternity. The same goes if a child’s mother wishes to obtain child support from the father of the child that she is not married to. Either way, legally valid proof of paternity must be provided to the court before child support or visitation will be awarded.
3. Are There Other Reasons Why Establishing Paternity Is Important?
Knowing a child’s family medical history is important. Establishing paternity will help determine whether a child has a family history of heart conditions, high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, and other potentially significant medical issues. Also, a child cannot receive benefits from a father unless he has been legally established as such — for example, a child will not be able to receive Social Security Disability benefits, Veteran’s benefits, or an inheritance without legal documentation of paternity. Additionally, legal documentation of paternity allows a father to place a child on his health insurance, which may provide better benefits than the mother’s health insurance.
4. Should Fathers Under the Age of 18 Be Concerned with Paternity?
If a man under the age of 18 has conceived a child with a woman, he will be held responsible, in part, both legally and financially for the child. When paternity is established, he can obtain visitation rights or will be ordered to pay child support, just as a man over the age of 18 would be. If a young man suspects that he is not the father of a child, legal paternity testing should always be done to confirm or deny parentage.
Contact Mindi Lasley, P.A. Today
If you have questions about paternity or need to obtain legal paternity testing that is admissible in a Florida court of law, don’t hesitate to reach out to an experienced attorney. Contact Mindi Lasley, P.A. today for more information at (813) 873-9047.