RD- an actual child support client
"My case was handled quickly and with ease."
01/10/2014
RD- an actual child support client
"My case was handled quickly and with ease."
01/10/2014
“Prospective clients may not obtain the same or similar results.”
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Paternity

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Gainesville Paternity Attorney

As a skilled Gainesville – Ocala Paternity Attorney, Karen S. Yochim,  is familiar with the emotional strain and legal ramifications of paternity suits. The Law Office of Alba & Yochim P.A. is sensitive to the rights of both parents and understands the importance that a paternity issue can have on child custody, time-sharing, as well as child support. Our practice believes that healthy parental relationships are vital to your child’s development. Establishing paternity is the first step.

What is Paternity?

Paternity is the legal recognition of a parental relationship between a man and a child. By acknowledging paternity, the man assumes all parental responsibilities and duties. In Florida, as in most states, paternity is not automatically assigned at birth. A child born out of wedlock does not have a legal father until paternity is properly established. Even if a father’s name appears on the birth certificate. Alternatively, if a child is born to a wed mother, her husband is the presumed father.

This brings up an important distinction between presumed fathers and acknowledged fathers.

A Presumed Father:

  • Is married to the mother when the child was conceived or born
  • Has tried to marry the mother (even if the marriage was not validated) and during the “marriage” the child was conceived or born
  • Married the mother following the birth of the child, agreed to have his name appear on the birth certificate and will support the child
  • Generally, presumed fathers are automatically the legal fathers of a child. No further paternity testing is required.

An Acknowledged Father:

  • Is not married to the mother
  • Is the biological father of the child
  • Has admitted to fathering the child; or
  • Has established paternity through a genetic paternity test
  • Legally, both presumed and acknowledged fathers are responsible for the well-being of the child and are therefore required to aid in child support.

Establishing Paternity

Establishing paternity is a complex process. Since Florida only recognizes automatic paternity in the case of a married mother, the state offers four alternatives.

  1. Legitimation. The child’s biological parents marry and subsequently revise the birth record to include the father’s name. Birth records are updated through the Florida Office of Vital Statistics and require proper documentation.
  2. Acknowledgment of Paternity. Parents sign a legal document identifying the paternity of the child.
  3. Administrative Order Based on Genetic Testing. The Florida Department of Revenue offers this free service to paternity seeking parents. The alleged father, mother and child take a genetic test. If the results show the alleged father to be the biological father, a legal document is issued to the Florida Office of Vital Statistics. The father is then added to the child’s birth record and is responsible for all associated duties.
  4. Court Order. A hearing is conducted to determine the paternity of the child. A judge oversees the case and may order a genetic test. Parents are subject to paternity testing costs and court fees.
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Types of Genetic Testing

Genetic or DNA testing is the standard for establishing paternity. Alleged fathers are subject to one of two tests that will compare their DNA with that of the child. Equally accurate, each has its own benefits and time tables.

Importance of Paternity

Caught in the stress and emotional strain of litigation, clients commonly forget why establishing paternity is important. Your child’s development, sense of self and well-being are powerfully linked to his or her paternity. The Law Office of Alba & Yochim P.A. encourages our clients to reflect on the roles paternity plays in their child’s life.

  • Identity of the Child. A child’s sense of self is an invaluable commodity. Discovering your background is a pivotal part of childhood development. The assistance and presence of both parents is an essential aspect of this process. Establishing paternity will only aid in fulfilling your child’s need to understand his place in the world.
  • Health of the Child. Undoubtedly, you child’s health is of grave importance to you. In order to provide complete medical care, doctors require full access to his or her medical history. This includes the family background of both mother and father. Proper treatment and early diagnosis of disorders are directly linked to family history and can greatly benefit a prognosis.
  • Supporting the Child. Supporting a child is both an emotional and financial feat. In Florida, established paternity is required for child support and visitation rights. The comfort of monetary stability and the presence of both parents at important times in their life can mean the world to a child.
  • Benefits to the Child. Paternity dictates a child’s ability to inherit or afford access to parental benefits. Health insurance, Social Security and inheritance require established paternity.
  • Establishment of Time-sharing. Creating a schedule for both parents to spend time with their child is very important. Paternity actions provide a venue to establish this time-sharing schedule.

The experienced paternity team at the Law Office of Alba & Yochim P.A. is prepared to help with your paternity litigation. Our practice is dedicated to providing guidance and obtaining results. Contact us today for a consultation.