Orange residents may be interested in an article discussing how Florida courts determine paternity. Once this paternity is established, both the parent and the child gain specific rights as a result of this legal parentage.
Establishing paternity of a child is accomplished in one of five ways: when the parents are married at the time of the child's birth, when the parents marry after the birth and update the record of the child's birth, when paternity is legally acknowledged, when genetic testing proves paternity and when a court orders that paternity has been established. If the parents are not married, one of these methods must be used to prove legal parentage. In cases where genetic testing is necessary, a court will sometimes order that testing to be completed. Skin cells are taken from both father and child, and DNA from the samples is compared in a laboratory. The results are then mailed to both the mother and the prospective father.
Once paternity is established, the child gains certain rights. These include the right to know their father's identity and to have this reflected on their birth certificate. Additionally, the child is eligible to receive child support, insurance and other benefits from their parent. Fathers' rights include the ability to have a say in any legal decisions regarding the child as well as receive a court order for visitation or child support when appropriate.
It is important to acknowledge that each person's specific situation is different. When a father is attempting to establish paternity, dispute DNA testing or assert their rights, an attorney may be able to help. The attorney may be able to examine their situation and determine the best way to proceed in order to achieve their goals.
Source: Florida Department of Revenue, "Establishing Legal Paternity", August 07, 2014