You love your children and want the best for them. This means effectively navigating the legal system while protecting them is your top priority. The Florida Department of Revenue’s website outlines 3 primary ways paternity may be established beginning with a simple scenario where a child’s parents are married to each other and no action is required. Variables extend from there into different possible scenarios. Once paternity is established children have access to rights and benefits, while parents also gain legal rights. Whether you need to establish you are a parent and ask for child and medical support or if you need a court order for shared time with the child, you need a professional and qualified legal team that understands the law and how it affects families. Cobb Cole’s team knows that being involved in legal issues is stressful for everyone and will work hard to help you. With almost 100 years of service in the Florida legal community, they are ready to handle your case.
Legally Establishing Paternity
A fairly straightforward situation occurs if you are unmarried but the child’s father and want to establish paternity. In this case, you and the child’s mother can fill out an Acknowledgment of Paternity form in front of two witnesses or a notary public. However, there are understandably many more complex paternity issues. For example, you may be trying to show that your ex-partner is the father and want him to responsibly pay child support. The Cobb Cole Family Law team knows how to ably represent you, understanding these cases are very serious and need to be handled properly. Often the stakes are high as they can determine whether you can see your child and be a part of your child’s life, whether you will be paying or receiving child support for the next 18 years, and/or how you will share time with your child and their other parent. Our attorneys will try to resolve paternity issues through Mediation which is less confrontational and helps protect relationships even throughout the stressful legal processes.
Establishing paternity means obtaining a legally binding declaration that you are a child’s father, the child’s legal parent. There are several ways to establish paternity both in court and outside court and the Cobb Cole Family Law team can help you choose the correct method to protect your rights to share time with your child. It is important to have these rights legally established. You may have an informal agreement with your ex-partner which can be fine until there is a dispute. It is better to do it correctly from the beginning. Until you have officially established paternity you have no legally enforceable rights, and there are a lot of details that can be missed with informal agreements.
This summer a new law signed by Governor DeSantis acknowledged the rights of “unwed fathers.” Previously the natural guardianship defaulted to the mother when a child was born to unmarried parents. With this Florida statute now both the mother “and the father who has established paternity under s. 742.011 or s. 742.10 are the natural guardians of the child and are entitled and subject to the rights and responsibilities of parents.” This gives fathers parental rights and responsibilities to the child outside of paternity proceedings. However, when parents can’t agree on items like time sharing or child support, judicial intervention is still necessary.
Florida Family Law Team
Cobb Cole has an experienced attorney, Sara Glover who practices solely in the area of Family Law. Ms. Glover represents her clients in all areas of Family Law and in 2016 she was voted “Top Lawyer in Family Law” for Volusia and Flagler Counties by the Daytona Beach News Journal. She has also been recognized as a “Rising Star” by Super Lawyers. She works collaboratively with the other Cobb Cole lawyers to protect her client’s best interests.