Paternity Testing in Florida Custody Cases
When a child’s parentage is in question, a parent or the court may order a paternity test to determine whether or not a man is the child’s biological father.
When a child is born to a married woman, her husband automatically becomes the child’s legal father, regardless of whether the baby is actually related to him biologically. If a mother is not married when her baby is born, there are a few different ways she or the child’s biological father can establish his legal parenthood. These include signing a Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity or through a court order. The court order can require that the alleged father take a paternity test.
Why Should I Take or Seek a Paternity Test?
A paternity test is an important part of establishing your legal parentage of your child, which you need to do in order to establish the following:
- A timesharing schedule;
- A child support order;
- The right to add your child to your health insurance plan or claim him or her as a dependent on your tax return; and
- His or her right to inherit your assets after your death.
It is possible to name a child as a beneficiary in your will even if you are not his or her legal or biological parent. If you die without a will in place, your legal child has the right to receive some or even all of your assets under Floria’s intestacy law.
If you are not your child’s legal parent, you do not have parental rights to him or her. In addition to being unable to establish a timesharing schedule or child custody order, you also do not have a legal say in how the child’s other parent chooses to raise him or her or whether the child can be placed for adoption.
Using Paternity Test Results to Make Custody Determinations
It is important to remember that the court considers a variety of factors when determining child custody plans. Even if you do establish that your child is yours biologically, the court must determine whether creating a timesharing arrangement that involves you is in his or her best interest. Finding years after your child is born that he or she is not yours biologically also does not terminate an existing custody plan – the court may find that due to your established relationship, it is in his or her best interest to continue a relationship with you.
Work with Draper Law Office to Establish an Appropriate Parenting Plan for your Child
A child does not have to be yours biologically for him or her to be yours legally. Being a biological father also does not guarantee parental rights. Paternity and child custody can intersect in difficult ways, which is why it is important that you work with an experienced lawyer who can act as your advocate. Contact Draper Law Office today online or by calling 866-767-4711 to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation in one of our three locations: Kissimmee, St. Cloud, and Orlando.