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Paternity Attorneys in Brevard County, Florida

Establishing and naming the father of a newborn is an important step—not only for the child and the mother, but also for the father. Some fathers will attempt to evade establishing their role for fear of financial and other ramifications down the road, but there are legal vehicles that allow the mother, the child, and even a state agency to seek the establishment of proper paternity.

If you’re the mother or father of a child and you are seeking to establish paternity, contact us at Gutin & Wolverton: Harley I. Gutin. As family law attorneys, we have a combined five decades’ worth of experience in guiding clients through issues of paternity, parenting time, child support, and all related matters.

We proudly serve individuals and families throughout Brevard County, so set up a consultation with us today. 

Why Paternity Is So Important

Human beings, human emotions, and human futures are intimately affected by issues of paternity. The child, the mother, and the father are all interlocking pieces in the process of the growth of the child—and of the growth and fulfillment of the parents, too. 

For the Child 

From the child’s viewpoint and welfare, having two parents contribute to the child’s understanding of life can make a major difference down the road. We’ve all read or seen stories of some of the traps that children can fall into if they are reared “fatherless,” meaning that the father is either absent or non-involved.

From a legal standpoint, a child without an established father can lose out on benefits they might otherwise be entitled to, such as life insurance, health insurance, inheritance, and more. 

For the Mother

From the mother’s viewpoint, establishing paternity is vital. If paternity is not properly established, not only does the mother lose the care and assistance of an acknowledged father, but she may face an uphill road trying to receive child support payments.  

For the Father 

If paternity has not been established, the father may not be able to receive parenting time, or visitation rights, to his child. The alleged father (as the person is sometimes called) has no legal right until their paternity has been acknowledged or proven. Once paternity is established, the father can petition for various rights, such as custody, visitation, or the right to join in decisions about the child’s education. 

Seeking To Establish Paternity?

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Paternity is so important that the federal government has even created a website titled On the home page, the site states that “establishing paternity ensures a father’s legal rights and various rights and privileges for their children, such as rights to inheritance, father’s medical and life insurance benefits, and Social Security and veterans’ benefits, plus access to paternal family health history.” 

No matter your unique situation, it’s vital to reach out to a knowledgeable attorney for guidance. 

Establishing Paternity in Florida

Determining paternity is important, but how does the process work in Florida? If a married woman has a child in Florida, it is generally assumed that her spouse is the father and paternity is pretty much established automatically. If the mother is unmarried but the father is with her at the hospital, the two can establish paternity voluntarily. If the mother is unmarried at the time of the child’s birth, and no father is present or steps forward, matters can become more complicated.

If the mother subsequently marries the father, however, paternity can be established when applying for a marriage license. Another route is to get the “alleged father” and mother to sign what is called a “Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity,” acknowledging that the man signing the form is the father. For 60 days after signing the document, either parent can revoke it, but they must cite that either fraud or undue coercion was used to get their signature. After 60 days, the form is legally binding.  

If there is no voluntary agreement, then legal action can be taken by any of the parties involved—the child, the mother, or the father. The Florida Department of Child Support Services can also seek a court order. 

Generally, this type of legal action, no matter who initiates it, requires that the child, mother, and alleged father undergo genetic (DNA) testing to establish paternity. This type of legal action can even be taken before the birth of the child, but the child’s test will be postponed until after birth. 

If a government agency establishes paternity, the agency can only make orders regarding child support. For other orders such as a parenting schedule, the mother or alleged father must go to the court for assistance. 

Paternity Attorneys in Brevard County, Florida

Paternity issues can be complex and emotional. If you as the child, the mother, or the father are seeking to resolve the issue of paternity in Cocoa, Florida, or anywhere in Brevard County, contact the paternity attorneys at Gutin & Wolverton: Harley I. Gutin. We stand ready to guide you through the process of establishing paternity with skill and compassion. Set up a consultation today.