You must first file a paternity case to allow the court to address custody issues. Paternity is defined as the legal relationship between a child and his or her biological father. Paternity establishes rights and benefits to all those that are involved. Paternity actions are necessary to establish a legal relationship between a child born to unmarried parents and the biological father.
In Florida, it is presumed that the mother is the sole legal parent where the parents are not married at the time of birth of the child. Where the parents are married, the husband is presumed to be the legal father of the child, irrespective of whether he is the biological father.
Where if the parties are not married, signing the child's birth certificate is NOT enough. A paternity action, asking that the court recognizes the legal bond between the child and the father is required. During the action, the court will establish paternity where the parents present an acknowledgment of paternity form. In the event that allegations are made that the petitioning father is not the biological father of the child, the court may order a DNA test to be done.
Paternity gives both parents the legal right to: get a child support order, get a court order for visitation or custody, and have legal say in the decisions of the child. It is very common in Florida that a parent, most often the father, be summoned to the child support division of the courts and have a child support order entered without being given the option of asking for a parenting plan. A parenting plan establishes which parent will be making important decisions of the minor child and the time sharing schedule that the parents will follow. This creates a situation where the parent is legally ordered to pay child support but has no right to spending time with the child or make any decisions on their behalf.
Elizee Law Firm has experience representing both father and mothers in paternity actions in Florida. Allow us to guide you and protect your ability to parent your children! Allow the firm to represent you and your family in your pending family law issue. Contact us today at (305) 371-8846 for more information.