We frequently meet with clients who have never been married but have children in common with a former partner. If this is the situation in your case, and you want to more firmly establish your own rights and those of your child, a Petition for Determination of Paternity and Related Relief is in order.
Petition for Determination of Paternity and Related Relief. This Petition requests that the Court:
- Legally establish paternity
- Establish child support
- Establish a time-sharing schedule and parental responsibility
These links provide further information regarding these topics.
Florida Statute 61.13
Child support and time-sharing are covered by Florida Statute 61.13 in the same way as a traditional divorce case. Our sections on child support and child custody can provide you with more information.
It is imperative that you take this legal action if you want to ensure that your rights are protected in the event that the relationship between you and your former partner becomes difficult. If law enforcement intervention is necessary in your case, you must have a court order for the police to be able to help you. You also must have a court order to enforce child support. Without a court order, the enforcement mechanisms such as wage garnishment, driver's license suspension, IRS tax return interception and incarceration are all unavailable until you use the Court to establish child support.
Frequently Asked Questions About Paternity Cases:
1. I am the father of a child who was born out of wedlock, do I have rights to visitation and timesharing?
If there is no Court order establishing paternity and a timesharing schedule, you will be at the mercy of your child's mother until a schedule can be established. The police will not intervene on your behalf and take your child away from the mother. Until you file your paternity case, you will essentially be without recourse to enforce visitation with your child.
2. I signed the birth certificate, but I am unsure if I am the father, can I contest Paternity?
If you have signed the birth certificate, you are legally presumed to be the father of your child and to have waived your rights to a paternity test. If there is compelling evidence that you are not the father, you must file a Petition to Disestablish Paternity in order to be removed from the birth certificate.
3. The father of my child has not paid any child support, what are my rights?
A child support obligation begins automatically when unmarried parties separate. This does not mean it becomes Court-ordered, it means that retroactive child support begins to accrue until the father begins paying. Any payments made by the father will be assigned to him as a credit towards his arrears. We recommend to all of our clients that they begin paying child support right away, so as to ensure the needs of their child are met and to ensure that no arrears begin to accrue. In order to establish Court-ordered child support, you must file a Paternity case. It is important to note that you can only receive retroactive child support for 2 years prior to the date of filing your Paternity case
The Orlando Family Firm, located conveniently in downtown Orlando is a full-service family law firm dedicated to providing compassionate and aggressive representation for our clients. As Orlando Paternity lawyers we are focused on representing you and getting your legal matters resolved as quickly and proactively as possible. Our firm typically handles family law cases throughout Central Florida in Orange County, Osceola County and Seminole County. We have significant trial experience in handling paternity cases. We believe that communication with our clients is of utmost importance so that our clients know exactly what is going on in their case and to help take the mystery out of the legal process. Going through a divorce or other family law proceeding is a trying time for our clients and we provide the peace of mind to help our clients resolve and move past their family legal issues. The Orlando Family Firm can help with your paternity matters - Contact Us Today for a Free Consultation.