Establishing Paternity in Florida

What if you have children but were never married to the other parent? Under Florida law unmarried Fathers may need the court’s assistance to obtain rights to his children, and unmarried mothers may need to establish paternity to obtain child support. Whatever the case may be, the process of establishing paternity is almost identical to dealing with children’s issues in a divorce.

To establish paternity a lawsuit must be initiated by filing a Petition to Establish Paternity. The issues raised in most paternity cases include but are not limited to timesharing or custody of minor children, decision-making authority over the children, and child support.

Parties may agree on some or all of these issues, however if they cannot agree the court will make a determination. The court can calculate child support and may establish a Parenting Plan outlining who makes decisions regarding the child, and setting forth a timesharing or custody schedule the children will enjoy with each parent.

While DNA or genetic testing can be useful if biological paternity is in dispute, it is not necessary or required to establish paternity in Florida.