(954) 981-2200

Depending on which side of the dispute you find yourself, the establishment of paternity can be an emotionally challenging time. 

It is wise to seek the counsel of a skilled Fort Lauderdale family law paternity attorney to guide you through the legal paternity process and answer your questions. 

How can I get a paternity test?

If you think you are the father of a child, your best course of action is to immediately review the information regarding the Putative Father Registry.  The Putative Father Registry can be found by searching online for Florida Putative Father Registry.  After reviewing the website, you should make your application.  After that, you should contact a Fort Lauderdale paternity attorney and file a petition to determine paternity in the circuit court.  This will insure that you can immediately be established as the legal father of your child and allow you to seek timesharing.  In your petition to determine paternity, you will ask for a DNA test to legally prove you are the biological father.  If there is any chance that you are not the biological father, you will not want to miss this step.  Once you have been adjudicated the legal father of the child, you will have child support responsibilities that you cannot rescind unless you file a disestablishment of paternity and qualify under the provisions to disestablish paternity.  You will not be able to disestablish paternity if you had the opportunity to administer the DNA test and failed to do so.

What if I have been contacted by Department of Revenue?

If you have been contacted by Department of Revenue to establish paternity, the State of Florida is doing so only to establish child support and you will be adjudicated the father of the child but not be afforded any rights to see the child.  If you are contacted by Department of Revenue, you should immediately contact a paternity attorney to help you though the process and file a companion case in the circuit court to establish timesharing rights for you.  Generally, the Department of Revenue attempts to establish child support if the mother or child starts receiving benefits from the State of Florida.  The Department of Revenue can establish child support if requested by the mother.  If you fail to respond and avail yourself of the process, you could be adjudicated the father of a child and child support determined.  Do NOT ignore letters from the Department of Revenue.  If you suspect or know you are not the father of a child, you must respond and inform the Department of Revenue accordingly and seek a DNA test.  You will not be able to establish visitation through the Department of Revenue.    

How can I obtain visitation with my child?

If you have not been established the legal father of your child through the circuit court, you have no rights to visit your child.  The State of Florida provides that for any child born out of wedlock, the mother is the sole parent and she alone can make all parenting decisions for the child.  This means that she can leave the State of Florida at will and you cannot restrict her movement unless and until you seek to have your rights asserted in circuit court.  Further, the mother has the right to establish child support obligations but still is not obligated to give you any visitation if you do not ask for it in the circuit court.  If you want to obtain visitation with your child, you need to file your petition to establish paternity and seek the entry of a parenting plan and timesharing schedule.  This is the ONLY way you will obtain visitation with your child.

I need child support.  How do I get it?

The best way to obtain child support and for the father to pay his share of the child expenses such as uncovered medical and health related expenses and extra-curricular activities is to file a petition to determine paternity in the circuit court.  It is tempting to contact Department of Revenue to have child support assessed against the father, but you will not receive a contribution of medical and other health related expenses or extra-curricular activities if you go that route.  The Department of Revenue establishes child support based on reported income.  The attorneys for the Department of Revenue are extremely overworked and child support cases can take longer to complete.  Hiring a private attorney will be worth the extra expense.

Can I receive attorney’s fees or alimony in a paternity matter?

Paternity matters deal with parental responsibility, timesharing, a parenting plan, child support and child related expenses.  If you have a need and the other parent has the ability to pay, you could be awarded or entitled to some or all of your attorney’s fees and costs to be reimbursed to you.  Paternity does not establish alimony.  Alimony is spousal support and is awarded only in a dissolution of marriage proceeding.  If you and the other parent never married, then you are not entitled to nor will you have to pay alimony.

Disestablishment of Paternity

It is not uncommon for a man to find out and prove he is not the biological father of a child.  If paternity and child support is established by the State of Florida through Department of Revenue, and you later find out you are not the biological father, consult with a paternity attorney to determine if disestablishment of paternity is a remedy to you.  In order to disestablish paternity, you need to be relatively current in your child support obligations, show that you have newly discovered evidence regarding the paternity of the child that you discovered since paternity was established, that you did not have access to the child for purposes of a paternity DNA test, that you did not prevent any other male from establishing paternity, and that you have not subsequently adopted the child or married the mother and assume parental obligations for the child. 

If you have further questions regarding family law and paternity, do not hesitate to contact the paternity attorneys at Neave Family Law Group  We offer free consultations and accept all major credit cards as payment for services.  We can be reached by calling 954-981-2200 or by completing our online contact form.

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(954) 981-2200

2400 E. Commercial Blvd.
Suite 826 
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33308