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As a father, when is it necessary to legally establish paternity?

If you are a father, you know how important it is to maintain a strong relationship with your children. This is especially true for fathers not married to the mother of the child or who are facing other custody concerns. In some cases, it may be necessary for a Florida father to legally establish paternity in order to enforce his rights as an active and involved parent.

You may wish to have an active role in the life of your child, but doing so may cause complications if not married to the mother of your child at the time he or she was born. Perhaps you had an informal arrangement that is no longer viable or perhaps you wish to establish your presence in your child's life. Whatever your concerns may be regarding paternity, you do not have to deal with them on your own.

What you may need to know about paternity

If married to the mother of your child, or if she puts your name on the birth certificate, the presumption is that you are the legal father of the child. However, establishing paternity could be important for unmarried couples. If you believe that you need to take this step in order to secure your rights as a father, you may need to know the following: 

  • If the mother is willing and cooperative, it is possible to establish paternity simply by filling out a few forms.
  • Unmarried parents may work with a lawyer to address paternity issues and settle matters related to custody and visitation.
  • If voluntary measures are not possible, it may be necessary for you to take legal action to establish your rights as a father.
  • If you are successful and legally established as the biological father, you will have the obligation to financially support your children.

Fighting to protect your rights as a father is not an easy process. This is not something you must do on your own, and you have the right to seek guidance from the very beginning.

The vital role of a father

Children benefit when they have an active father figure in their lives. Legally establishing yourself as the father can not only ensure that they have regular financial support, it can ensure that you always get to have the role in the lives of your kids that you deserve. 

Establishing paternity may be a complex process, but it can be worth it for both you and your children.

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