Paternity Concerns? Our Experience Can Help.
Put our experience to work for you. Call now, 904-794-7898.
Do You or Someone You Love Have Paternity Concerns?
On a weekly basis we are contacted by prospective clients to inquire about Paternity concerns. Paternity cases are normally cases in which a child is born out of wedlock, however, can be a case where a child is born within a legal intact marriage and either the biological father or the Husband is wondering what their rights are. The pregnancy or birth could be as a result of a long-termed relationship, one-night stand, extramarital affair, or a long termed relationship where the parents lived together as married, but were not, and now they have split.
Paternity cases can be frustrating when a Husband finds out his Wife cheated on him, he is not the father, but being requested to pay child support. The biological father, although on the birth certificate, is not the legal father until there is a Judgment of Paternity. The biological father may want to have visitation/time sharing with their child, but the mother is not allowing it. The mother may want to keep the biological father away from the child because he is not responsible. Paternity cases can be a very complicated case that requires an attorney with experience in this area of law.
Below you will find answers to some of the other questions we receive.
Put our experience to work for you. Call now, 904-794-7898.
• How can I get child support from the Father?
• The Father wants to take my child from me, can he?
• The Father will not bring the child back, what can I do?
• I want the Father to be involved, but not overnight.
• The Father is too immature; I don’t want him to see the child.
• The Father is a criminal, or on drugs, how can I protect the child?
• Can I just terminate the Father’s parental rights?
• Can he force me to change the baby’s name?
• Does Florida have grandparent rights?
• My daughter has abandoned her child, and the Father is nowhere to be found - what can be done?
• Can I get custody of my sister’s baby?
• How do I know it’s my child, she has told me I am, then says another man is the Father?
• Can I force a DNA test?
• I just want to be involved with my child’s life, but the Mother will not let me?
• How can I force the Mother to allow me see my child?
• Can I get custody of the child?
• How can I get visitation?
• I have been served with papers for child support from DOR
(Department of Revenue) can you help me?
• I just went to Court and have been ordered to pay child support, but no time-sharing schedule (visitation) was ordered, why not?
• Can’t I be listed at the school and the child’s doctor’s office as the father?
• Can I have the child’s name changed to my last name?
• If I give up my rights do I still have to pay child support?
Questions We Need to Have Answered
When we are analyzing a Paternity case we are going to ask several questions, such as: Was the child conceived in Florida? • Do both Mother and Father live in Florida? • Does the child live in Florida? • Was the Mother married to another man when the child was born? • Is the Father on the Birth Certificate? • Has DNA been tested? • Has Father acknowledged Paternity? • Has a Court made the determination that the Father is the legal Father?
What Direction to Proceed
With the answers to these questions, we are able to advise our clients the proper direction to proceed with the Paternity action. We normally bring it to our client’s attention that until paternity is established, Fla. Stat. §744.301 states, “The mother of a child born out of wedlock is the natural guardian of the child and is entitled to primary residential care and custody of the child unless the court enters an order stating otherwise.” Unlike the Father in a Marriage case, a Father in a Paternity case must have their parental rights established. Once a Father does establish Paternity, he is entitled to all the same rights and responsibilities as the Mother.
A determination of paternity of a child born out of wedlock does not merely generate an obligation to pay child support; it also confers upon the fathers the right of time-sharing (visitation) and a claim to be the majority time-sharer (custody, primary residential parent). Fla. Stat. §61.13
Custody and Visitation v. Parenting Plans and Time-Sharing
In October, 2008, the Florida Legislatures enacted all kinds of new laws with regard to Custody and Visitation. Prior to October, 2008, Florida Law provided for one party to be the custodial parent or primary residential parent of minor children who were the subject of a dissolution action or paternity action and for the other parent to be the noncustodial parent or secondary residential parent with visitation or timesharing rights.
Effective October 1, 2008, there would no longer be custodial parents, primary residential parents, noncustodial parents or secondary residential parents. The rights and obligations of all parents in the State of Florida are now to be governed by a “parenting plan” including a “time-sharing schedule” for parents and children.
Shared Parental Responsibility
“Shared Parental Responsibility” is a court-ordered relationship in which both parents retain full parental rights and responsibilities with respect to their child and in which both parents confer with each other so that major decisions affecting the welfare of the child will be determined jointly. The only way a court cannot order shared parental responsibility is if the court finds it is detrimental to the child.
Public Policy that both parents have contact with children
Section 61.13(2)(c)1, Florida Statutes states it is the public policy that each minor child has frequent and continuing contact with both parents after the parents separate or the marriage of the parties is dissolved and to encourage parents to share the rights and responsibilities, and joys, of child rearing. There is no presumption for or against the father or mother of the child or for or against any specific timesharing schedule when creating or modifying the parenting plan of the child.
Choosing the Right Divorce Attorney
At the Law Office of Michael Hines, P.A., we care about you and will devote ample time to your case. Our goal is to get things done right. You will find that we are ready to spend time with you, getting to know your situation and filling you in on the process you will go through. You will have experienced, passionate and dedicated legal counsel by your side from start to finish. Michael Hines has successfully helped families dealing with divorces from amicable to the seemingly impossible.
How the Court determines who the child will live with
When a court is establishing parental responsibility and creating, developing or approving, a parenting plan, including a time-sharing schedule, the best interest of the child shall be the primary consideration. There are 20 factors for the court to consider wherein it must look both to the past and to the future to create a parenting plan in the best interest of the minor child and the child’s specific family situation. The statute also requires no presumption for or against mother or father when creating Parenting Plan. We have heard from prospective clients that the Mother always gets custody, this is simply not true! The factors the Court must consider are as follows:
• Parent has or has not fostered relationship between child and other parent, including timesharing
• Parental responsibilities after litigation, including those delegated to third parties
• Parents have or have not prioritized needs of child
• Stability of child’s environment
• Geographic viability of proposed parenting plan with emphasis on school-age children and time they spend traveling
• Moral fitness of parents
• Mental and physical health of parents
• Home, school & community record of child
• Child’s preference
• Parents’ knowledge of child’s daily life
• Parents’ capacity to provide consistency
• Parent’s capacity to communicate with other parent regarding child-related issues and to adopt unified front
• Evidence of domestic or sexual violence, child abuse, abandonment or neglect, regardless of whether action was brought
• False information to the Court by either parent as to violence, abuse, abandonment or neglect
• Customary parenting tasks by each parent and third parties before and during litigation
• Capacity and disposition of parents to be part of child’s school and extracurricular activities
• Capacity and disposition of parents to maintain environment with no substance abuse
• Shielding of child from knowledge of litigation and disparaging comments about other parent
• Developmental stages and needs of child and ability of parents to meet those needs
Other Relevant Factors
Children born within a legal intact marriage
A child born during marriage is presumed to be the child of both the husband and wife. The presumption of legitimacy of a child born during marriage is one of the strongest rebuttable presumptions known to law.
Is there a way for a biological father to bust through that presumption of legitimacy? Call now to discuss. 904-794-7898.
In any proceeding to establish paternity, the court on its own motion may require the child, mother, and alleged fathers to submit to scientific tests that are generally acceptable within the scientific community to show a probability of paternity. The court shall direct that the tests be conducted by a qualified technical laboratory. Disestablishment of Paternity: is the legal process under which a male may seek an order or judgment disestablishing, or effectively canceling a previously adjudicated claim of paternity, or terminating a child support obligation when the male is not the biological father of the subject child. Fla. Stat. §742.18
Our Commitment to You
The Law Office of Michael Hines, P.A. has an outstanding team that is dedicated to providing you with the kind of legal representation you deserve. We have successfully resolved issues and situations from amicable and fairly simple, to logistically complex, to the seemingly impossible. We are ready and prepared to assist you in your case. We offer a free initial telephone consultation.