Parents have a number of rights and responsibilities when it comes to their minor children. Before a father can enforce those rights, they must formally establish paternity. This process can occur in several different ways. When both parents cannot agree on questions of paternity, the court will ultimately decide.
Either parent has the right to pursue a paternity case. Mothers might seek to establish paternity to ensure child support obligations are met. Fathers could file a paternity case to obtain parental rights over their minor child. In either situation, a Gainesville paternity case lawyer from Bogin, Munns & Munns might be able to help.
You Could Establish Paternity in Gainesville in Different Ways
There are different ways the paternity of a minor child could be established in Gainesville. The options available to the parents will depend on a few factors, including whether or not they are married.
The Presumption of Paternity
In some cases, establishing paternity is simple. When a married woman gives birth in Gainesville, the law presumes that the husband is the father of the child. While it is possible to rebut this presumption, a husband who is presumed to be the father under the law does not need to take any additional steps to establish paternity.
Establishing Paternity Voluntarily
Establishing the paternity of a minor child requires additional steps when the parents are unmarried. However, this process does not have to be difficult. The simplest way to establish paternity outside of marriage is by doing so voluntarily.
When both parents agree on the paternity of the minor child, they can make use of a form known as the “Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity.” This form is an affidavit where the man signing the document acknowledges they are the legal father of a minor child. The form requires the man to swear under oath that he is the father. In order for this acknowledgment to take effect, both parents must agree that the man is the father.
The Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity does not go into effect immediately. When the document is executed, 60 days must elapse before it becomes finalized. During that 60-day period, either parent has the right to revoke their consent to the acknowledgment.
Once the 60 days have expired, both parties lose the right to revoke the acknowledgment independently. However, they still have the right to petition the court for the revocation of the acknowledgment of paternity. These requests are typically only granted when fraud or extreme force is used to coerce the signing of the document.
Filing a Paternity Case
If both parents cannot agree on a finding of paternity, it will be necessary to pursue a paternity case in court. Either parent has the right to file a paternity case in the county they live in.
During these proceedings, the court will require the father to submit to a DNA test. The results will be compared to the minor child to determine if there is a biological relationship between the two. If there is, the court will issue an order establishing paternity.
To consult with an experienced paternity case lawyer serving Gainesville, call 855-686-6752
Is There a Time Limit on Establishing Paternity in Gainesville?
One of the challenges to establishing paternity is that fathers might not learn they are a parent immediately upon the child’s birth. In some cases, a father might not learn about their paternity for several years after the birth of the child.
State law recognizes that paternity issues can crop up at various points in a child’s life. For that reason, there is an extended period of time in which a parent could file a paternity case. Either parent has the right to pursue a paternity case beginning with the date of the child’s birth and ending when the child reaches the age of 18.
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There Are Many Reasons to Establish Paternity
Establishing paternity is an important step in the lives of everyone involved. In addition to both parents, the minor child could also benefit substantially from the formal establishment of paternity. Some of the important reasons to establish paternity include:
Establishing the Father-Child Relationship
Building a relationship with a father is an important developmental step for a child. This fundamental relationship could have a significant benefit on the emotional and social health of the child. In some cases, building this relationship is only possible once paternity is established.
Custody and visitation rights are a major issue when the parents of a minor child are unmarried and not living together. The only way for the biological father to obtain formal visitation or custody rights is by establishing paternity. Without formally having paternity recognized, a father has no ability to secure custody on their own.
In addition to the rights that come with parenthood, important obligations must be met. One of those obligations is financial support. Many mothers seek to establish paternity to obtain an order for financial support from the father.
The medical history from both sides of a child’s family could play a big role in their medical care for years to come. In order to know the potential health risks the child could face in life, it is important to establish paternity. Doing so could give the child important insight into their own hereditary health conditions from that side of the family.
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Let a Gainesville Attorney Help With Your Paternity Case
Establishing the paternity of a minor child can be a stressful process, but it is an important milestone for parents and children alike. If you are considering filing a paternity case, a single misstep could cost you dearly.
The attorneys of Bogin, Munns & Munns are experienced with family law issues and could help you resolve your paternity dispute. Our firm could lead you every step of the way and make sure that your rights are protected at the same time. To learn how a Gainesville paternity case lawyer might be able to help, call for a free consultation.