In Florida family law, there are a host of paternity issues a father could run into. The process of establishing legal rights is just one of them. A few of the many others may include legal versus biological fatherhood, visitation, and custody rights.
While paternity is automatically established if the parents of the child are married when the child is born, additional steps need to be taken if the parents are unmarried. There are voluntary ways for this to happen, for example when both parents sign a “Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity” form, which becomes legally binding after 60 days of signing it.
There are also court-ordered ways of determining paternity.
Paternity testing in Florida
Paternity disputes can become particularly tense and challenging when allegations about who the father is come into question. Sometimes these allegations are made to initiate child support payments, in which case the Florida Department of Revenue may also get involved with the case. Other times the mother or alleged father may initiate a petition. In any case, the court may order genetic testing to validate paternity.
When the court orders a paternity test, the mother, child, and alleged father must all schedule appointments to have genetic testing performed. The test consists of collecting skin cell samples from inside each person’s cheeks (no bloodwork is necessary). Once the samples have been collected from the parents and child, the samples will be sent to the lab for testing and analysis.
It may take up to a few weeks for the results to be processed and delivered. While it can be nerve-wracking to wait for your results, understanding who the biological father is (or isn’t) is frequently a critical part of many family law challenges. For help understanding your rights, responsibilities, and decisions regarding establishing paternity in Florida, get in touch with us today at Vasquez de Lara Law Group.