Q: My name is on the child's birth certificate. What are my rights as a father?
A: There are no legal rights as a father if you have a child outside of wedlock. There is a presumption that you are the father if your name is on the certificate; however, you will still need to establish paternity and a final judgment or court order will establish your rights and responsibilities as the child's father.
A paternity test is a non-legal action you can take to determine the paternity of a child. You can submit DNA to find out whether you are the father, but this has NO connection to the legal case. A positive DNA test, does not mean you are legally bound to provide for the child or have rights as a dad. However, the results of that test can be used if you file a petition to determine paternity in the Florida court system.
Most paternity cases don't require DNA tests to prove paternity. When both parents agree that the father is the biological parent - no test is needed to establish that as fact in court. The court can determine a time-sharing plan and child support order. However, if both parents, through mediation, can agree on a time-sharing plan and child support calculation the court will not need to decide for them. The court can sign off on the mediation agreement if both parties can negotiate and agree on time-sharing and child support. The written agreement can be sent to the court and the court will issue a final judgement incorporating the written agreement. Once the judge signs off on it and becomes apart of the court order.
Max Factor, Attorney at Law, P.A. focuses on divorce law, family law, and insurance law. They are based in Tallahassee, Florida. Max Factor can help with divorce matters, child custody, alimony, mediation, separation, property division, child support matters, high-net worth divorce, and storm damage claims. He is licensed in the state of Florida and Georgia. To learn more about Max and his team, visit maxfactorlaw.com/contact_us/ and send us your information - we are here to help.