Palm Beach County Paternity Lawyer
Your parental rights over your child – which include your right to make legal decisions pertinent to your child’s life, and petition for child custody (timesharing) and visitation in the event of a divorce or separation – are very important. However, if your child was born out of wedlock and you are the child’s father, or parent who is a non-birth mother, in order to have full legal rights over the child you need to obtain a court order. If there is no prior court order governing timesharing or child support, Florida Statute 744.301 will apply. That statute states:
The mother of a child born out of wedlock is the natural guardian of the child and is entitled to primary residential care and custody of the child unless a court of competent jurisdiction enters an order stating otherwise.
If you have not established parental rights by court order, our paternity lawyer is experienced in paternity law and can guide you through the process. We also have experience in LGBTQ paternity and maternity actions and have successfully obtained parental rights for same sex parents of minor children born outside of marriage.
Establishing Paternity/Parental Rights in Florida
If the parents are unmarried at the time of the child’s birth, either parent may file a court action for paternity to legally determine the child’s father or other parent, as well as for timesharing (custody/visitation) determinations and support obligations. If there is a conflict between parties about paternity, a civil action can be filed in the family division of circuit court. In a court case, the court will hear both parties’ sides and may order genetic testing to prove/disprove paternity. One or both parents may be ordered to pay for this genetic testing.
Your Rights After Establishing Paternity/Parental Rights
After you have established paternity, you have the same parental rights as any other father/parent in Florida. This means that you have the right to petition the court for timesharing with your child (if you and the child’s mother are separated), and for parental responsibility to make decisions about the child’s welfare, including decisions about healthcare and education. It also means that you have a legal obligation to support the child financially.
Paternity Lawyer Georgia T. Newman Can Help
Establishment of parental rights and paternity issues can be extremely sensitive for all parties involved, especially if the child is old enough to understand what is going on. LGBTQ relationships may also add another lawyer of complication for the court. At the Law Office of Georgia T. Newman, we want to help ensure that the establishment of paternity, parental rights and related issues are as easy for your family as possible. For a consultation to learn more about how we can assist you, contact our paternity lawyer today by phone or online.