Under Florida law, unmarried persons having children in common may initiate paternity proceedings in the circuit court in order to obtain a judgment establishing their parental rights and responsibilities. A paternity action can be commenced by either parent and is usually started with a complaint to establish paternity. Once a complaint for paternity has been filed and served on the other party, the responding party has twenty (20) days to file and serve an answer to the complaint, and if they choose to do so, also file a counter-complaint.
In Florida, the legal parents of a child are those whose names appear on the birth certificate. However, when the biological father is not listed on the child’s birth certificate, he must be established as the legal father of the child. This is accomplished through the paternity proceedings and scientific testing may be completed in the paternity action to assist the court in determining whether the alleged father is actually the biological and should be determined to be the legal father of the child.
Once paternity is established, all other matters which may be in controversy regarding the child such as a parenting plan, timesharing schedule, child support, medical insurance, and, matters of like kind or character, will need to be resolved, either by agreement reached between the parties or judgment ultimately entered by the court.
Whether you are a father who wants to establish your paternity of any child(ren) at issue or ensure and protect your relationship with any child(ren) for which you are established to be the father, or a mother who wants the father of her child to take responsibility and help with the raising of the child, our experienced team of attorneys are ready to help.