En el aspecto legal, una paternidad es el reconocimiento oficial del padre del niño, esto incluye todos los derechos legales y todas las responsabilidades intrínsecas a la paternidad. Con las posibles excepciones de los raros casos de situaciones de madres sustitutas (surrogate) , casi nunca existe la necesidad de establecer la maternidad de un niño, ya que generalmente es bastante claro quién es la madre debido a la naturaleza de un nacimiento.
Una paternidad es algo más complejo, ya que un padre biológico no es inherentemente obvio. Existe un sin número de razones por las cuales se necesita establecer una paternidad, y el resultado de esta puede tener un gran impacto sobre el niño, sobre la madre y aun en el padre en sí.
El establecimiento de una paternidad puede ayudar a proveer al niño de un historial médico familiar, de salud, un seguro de vida, ayuda financiera, el derecho a heredar y otros beneficios como el seguro social o militar. For the mother and father, an establishment of paternity gives each the right to get child support, get visitation or custody rights, and have a say in legal decisions about the child.
In the State of Florida, there are five ways to legally establish paternity.
If a man is married to the mother when a child is born, he is, for all intents and purposes, legally considered the father of the child. No further action need be taken to officially establish paternity if the couple is married.
2) Acknowledgement of paternity
An unmarried couple can jointly sign a legal document after the child is born that states they both acknowledge that the male signatory is the father of the child. This can be completed in the hospital following the birth, or at a later date, and officially bestows the legal rights and responsibilities of fatherhood upon the male party. This method cannot be used if the mother is married at the time of birth.
3) Court order
In cases where the fatherhood of the child is disputed, it may be necessary to get a court order from a judge that legally establishes the paternity of the child. The judge will hear evidence regarding the “alleged father,” and will then decide whether or not to establish paternity. He or she may choose to require genetic testing to prove the parentage of the child.
4) Administrative order based on genetic testing
Also known as a DNA test, the genetic test entails swabbing the inside of the mouths of the alleged father and the child, and sending the samples to a genetic testing lab to determine whether the alleged father is actually the biological father of the child. If the test determines that he is in fact the natural father of the child, an administrative order can be issued to legally establish paternity.
When an unmarried couple has a child, and later gets married, Florida law presumes the husband to be the legal father once the marriage is official. However, in order to be added to the child’s birth certificate as the father, the parents must send documentation to the Florida Office of Vital Statistics including a marriage certificate, an acknowledgement of paternity, and an “Affirmation of Common Child Born in Florida.”
Establishing paternity can be a complex and sensitive situation. No matter the circumstances, it is important that you utilize the counsel and guidance of an experienced family law attorney like Vanessa Vasquez de Lara. If you are involved in a paternity dispute, or you need to establish or refute a paternity claim, please contact the Vasquez de Lara Law Group today.