Child support is the legal obligation of every parent in Florida, per Florida Statute §61.29. However, parenthood – and specifically paternity – is not always cut and dry here in the Sunshine State.
While paternity is automatically established if the parents of a child are married at the time of birth, for parents who were not married, additional steps must be taken in order for paternity to be established in Florida.
Without paternity, a father’s rights are extremely limited and so too are his legal responsibilities. When it comes to child support, this can become a serious issue.
Paternity in Florida can be obtained voluntarily or via a court order. Parents who wish to voluntarily confirm paternity may sign a “Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity” form, which becomes legally binding after 60 days of signing it.
The courts may also order genetic testing to validate paternity.
Court-ordered paternity tests are common in situations where the paternity of a child is in question. Without proof of paternity, it can be extremely difficult to initiate or enforce child support payments.
If the paternity test results in a positive match the father then becomes legally responsible for supporting his child. Frequently the Florida Department of Revenue (and more specifically, the Child Support Enforcement Division) becomes involved with the case to ensure that the custodial parent receives regular payments to support the child.
Child support is an essential responsibility of any parent, and once paternity has been established, it’s imperative to pursue those payments for the wellbeing of your child.
If you have questions about paternity, child support, or any other Florida family law concern, please get in touch with our team at the Vasquez de Lara Law Group today.