Although declaring paternity of a child may seem like a straight forward issue that can be resolved with a simple DNA test, paternity suits can become quite complex and nuanced. Because the outcome of your case will have long-lasting effects on your child’s future, you should know your case will be in good hands. At McIntyre Thanasides Bringgold Elliott Grimaldi Guito & Matthews, P.A., our Tampa family law attorneys are experienced and knowledgeable, and will work with you to ensure the best interests for your child.
At the beginning of your paternity suit, DNA testing will be required to address the issue of genetics. These tests can be particularly useful in cases of involuntary paternity, where the mother is seeking child support from the alleged father. However, paternity is not always based solely on a blood test, or even by a name listed on a birth certificate. It can also be established through a process known as voluntarily assumed paternity. Generally, this applies to couples married before or shortly after the birth of the child, or if the father attempted to marry the mother during the pregnancy or shortly after the birth of the child. However, it can also apply to situations where a father figure and child have a parental/child relationship and a court grants him equitable parental rights. In certain situations, if the biological parents were never officially married, and the father failed to legally acknowledge his paternity, he may lose his parental rights. Our top-rated lawyers are experts in the nuances of Florida law. We, at McIntyre Thanasides, will help you through this emotionally grueling process to ensure rightful paternity is established.
Legal Significance of Paternity
No matter who began the suit, the consequences of its outcome will be pivotal for all involved. If a man is legally declared the child’s father, he can be held liable for child support. The child is also entitled to the father’s work benefits, health insurance, death benefits, inheritance, and a right to personal information regarding health issues. However, once paternity is legally established, the father may also challenge the mother for custody, visitation rights, or refuse to give the child up for an adoption the mother initiated. In cases of divorce or separation, a court will make decisions regarding child support, decision-making authority over the child, and parenting time. In Florida, if the court makes no decisions regarding those issues, it is assumed the mother will receive full custody.
Whether you are attempting to establish paternity, or believe you have no obligations to a child, our lawyers at McIntyre Thanasides are here to help you through the process. Family is a vital aspect to our lives, and it is important these issues are addressed correctly. Contact us today at (844) 511-4800 to talk to one of our Tampa family lawyers, and ensure your case is handled properly.