In Florida, if a child is born out of wedlock (to parents that are not married to each other), the mother of the child is considered the legal custodian of that child, even if the father signs the birth certificate. In order for a father to obtain parental rights over the child, he must file a Petition to Establish Paternity and open a Paternity case in court. Even though, the father signed the birth certificate, this does not mean that he automatically has rights to see or make decisions regarding his child. Therefore, it is very important that the father to children born out of wedlock acts quickly to establish his parental rights. Until a Court establishes legal paternity of the child, the father possesses no rights to that child and all decisions regarding the child are left completely up to the Mother.

A Paternity case can be opened by any woman who is pregnant or has a child and any man who has reason to believe that he is the father of a child.  Additionally, either parent may request a paternity test to determine the paternity of the child.  

In the event that a father is ordered to pay child support for a child and then later finds out that he is not the biological father of a child, he may file a Petition to Disestablish Paternity or Terminate Child Support Obligation. There must be newly discovered evidence relating to the paternity of the child that the father became aware of after the initial determination of paternity or establishment of child support obligation. This can be a complicated situation and should be handled by an attorney experienced in this area of law.


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Da Silva Law Firm offers experienced and aggressive legal representation focused exclusively on all areas of Family Law. Attorney Monica P. Lopez Da Silva offers results oriented legal representation and a compassionate and caring approach to handling your family law case.

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