What is Paternity?

Paternity is the legal proceeding to establish a Father’s rights and obligations to a child born outside of marriage. When a child is born out of wedlock, Chapter 742 of the Florida Statutes generally govern proceedings regarding the minor child. Attorneys Tristan and Silvia Sanders each have over 25 years of legal experience, and they have devoted themselves exclusively to representing clients in all types of sensitive Family Law matters, including Paternity issues and cases.

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Basic Rights of the Mother

When a child is born out of wedlock, the mother is considered to be the primary legal custodian of the child. This means that the mother initially will have far more rights concerning the child than the father. The father essentially has no rights to the child until such time as there has been a legal adjudication of Paternity in the courts.

If there has been no court order entered on Paternity, the mother is not subject to any statutory restriction regarding relocation with the child. Therefore, the mother will be free to relocate and take the child with her.

Paternity of a minor child can raise a multitude of legal complications when a mother gives birth to a child during an intact marriage, and the biological father is not her husband. The biological father who seeks to adjudicate himself as the father, when the husband and wife object to his claims of paternity, will face difficulties when it comes to asserting his parental rights.

Father’s Rights in Paternity Actions

When a biological father files a Paternity action and the mother is married to someone else; the court is required to conduct a hearing. The court must determine whether it is in the best interest of the child to allow the biological father to assert his rights to establish Paternity through DNA testing. In other words, if the husband objects, and the court finds that his objection is in the best interest of the child, the biological father’s request for DNA testing may be denied.

There are many factors involved in the establishment and disestablishment of Paternity. Orlando divorce and family law lawyers Tristan and Silvia Sanders have decades of experience representing parties in Paternity actions.

Paternity Filing Requirements

In the state of Florida, there is no six-month residency requirement to file a Paternity action like there is for filing a divorce. A paternity action may be filed in the county where either the mother or the father resides. Unlike divorce actions, you are entitled to have a jury trial in a Paternity action, if one is requested.

Time-Sharing and Child Support

Once there is an adjudication of Paternity, Florida Statutes regarding Child Support and time-sharing are applied to the Paternity case, as if the parties were married. Click here to learn more about child support in Florida.

Contact Orlando divorce lawyers Tristan and Silvia Sanders at The Sanders Firm, P.A., (407) 843-0012, to discuss your parental rights concerning children born out of wedlock, today.

Applicable Florida Paternity Statutes:
1. § 742 Fla. Stat. (2015).