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Paternity Attorney in St. Petersburg, Florida

Every parent wants what is best for his or her child. You may be a single parent who does not have a child support order or timesharing agreement in place. Or you may be subject to a paternity action or child support order and you believe the child is not your biological child. Being an unmarried parent does not mean that your or your children’s rights are less important than those in an intact marriage. However, there are important differences between paternity law and dissolution of marriage law.

For example:

  • The principles of shared parental responsibility are not adopted immediately on the birth of the child of parents who are not married to each other.
  • An unmarried mother is the sole custodian of the minor child until there is a court order otherwise setting forth a parenting plan and timesharing schedule.
  • A final judgment of paternity does not have to contain parenting and timesharing provisions: The paternity court “shall” address child support and “may” address parenting plans and time-sharing schedules.

How to Establish Paternity in Florida

Florida courts assume that a child born during a marriage is the biological and legal child of both parents. However, if you were single when the child was born, establishing paternity will need to be undertaken in order for child support, a timesharing schedule, or parental responsibility rights to be determined.

Parents who wish to establish paternity amicably can fill out a Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity. The father’s name will be put on the child’s birth certificate and thereafter the child will be the father’s legal child.

Should the parents have a dispute over paternity and court intervention is required, a parent, the child, or the Department of Revenue may petition the court to establish paternity. The court may use genetic testing as well as other evidence in establishing the paternity of the child.

Challenging Paternity in Florida

If you are served with a petition to establish paternity, but you believe the child is not yours, you can challenge the petition and defend yourself. DNA testing has become quite cost effective and is commonly used to establish or disestablish paternity in Florida paternity cases. Paternity law involves numerous statutes and is often a contentious and complex proposition. This is an area of family law which particularly lends itself to the guidance of an experienced St. Petersburg paternity attorney. Contact Progressive Divorce today for a free confidential consultation.

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