The importance of establishing paternity

Having a child can be one of life's greatest joys. Yet, Floridians often find themselves dealing with legal issues that threaten their relationship with their children and their ability to adequately provide for them. Sadly, fathers' rights are often threatened through these processes. When a child is born out of wedlock, women are generally considered a child's custodial parent. Women are sometimes favored with regard to custody arrangements during the divorce process. However, regardless of one's gender, it is important to understand the basic legalities of paternity, as it can have a profound impact on child custody and child support matters throughout the course of a child's life.

Let's look briefly at the way paternity is established. There are a number of ways that this relationship can become legally recognized. To start, a man is deemed a child's father if the child was born during his marriage to the child's mother. Paternity can also be established when a man and women both voluntarily sign a paternity acknowledgement form. This process can be completed regardless of whether the parents are married.

Another option is to seek a court order establishing paternity. This route is often undertaken when one party, either the alleged father or the mother, challenges the fact that a man is the child's biological father. Choosing to pursue this path to paternity may mean presenting evidence and undergoing genetic testing.

Establishing paternity is crucial for a number of reasons. It can endow a man with parental rights, allowing him to seek visitation, child custody, and child support. This can allow for the creation of a strong bond that is beneficial for the child and his or her parents. For a custodial mother, establishing paternity allows her to seek the child support she may need to adequately support her child. These matters can be legally challenging, though, especially when a child is born out of wedlock when a mother is still married to another man. To obtain assistance dealing with these problems, Floridians can seek help from a competent legal professional.

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