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What can help with establishing paternity?

On Behalf of | Jun 22, 2024 | Firm News

Paternity is the legal term for the state acknowledgment of a man’s parentage. A woman’s parentage is very obvious, as medical professionals typically assist with or at least serve as witnesses to the labor and delivery process. A man’s relationship with the child can be more difficult to establish.

He may need outside assistance. There are a few different ways for a man to get the state of Florida to recognize him as the biological parent of a child. What can help a man establish paternity in Florida?


The easiest way to establish paternity is by getting married. When a woman has a child, the state presumes that her husband is the father of that child. A husband’s name usually appears automatically on a birth certificate without any testing or formal acknowledgment required.

Acknowledgment from the mother

Unmarried fathers have a slightly more challenging path to paternity ahead of them. They may need to work with the mother of their child to fill out special paperwork. Voluntary paternity acknowledgment documents properly executed and submitted to the state can result in the addition of his name to the child’s birth certificate. So long as the mother agrees to acknowledge the father, they can fill out the paperwork together. Paternity acknowledgment can happen at the hospital, shortly after the birth or anytime while the child is still a minor.

Court intervention

In scenarios where the mother is unsure of paternity or refuses to acknowledge the father, the state can assist. Genetic testing can affirm a man’s parentage with a tiny margin of error. Court-ordered genetic testing can lay to rest any questions about who is the biological father of a child. Even if the mother does not eagerly desire genetic testing and paternity acknowledgment, the state can require testing. Men who establish paternity through cooperation or marriage often have a very simple process ahead of them. It can take months and require a bit of legal effort to establish paternity when the mother is not cooperative.

Understanding what can help a father prove parentage can be important for any adults concerned about Florida custody matters. A man who establishes paternity can then proceed to request shared parental rights, including time-sharing.