Paternity is fatherhood. When paternity is established the legal father of the child is identified. Once paternity is established rights are afforded the father, mother and the child(ren) (hereinafter referred to in the singular as “child”).
If the child is born during an intact marriage then it is presumed that the child is the father’s. If unmarried the parents can sign a legal document, an acknowledgment of paternity, at the hospital upon the child’s birth or after they leave the hospital.
The child receives benefits by naming a legal father. Once paternity is established the child now has access to the father’s side of the family’s medical history, the child knows who their father is, there are inheritance benefits, there is a legal duty to be supported from both parents, and the father’s name will appear on the birth certificate.
Once paternity is established both parents have certain obligations under the law. Both parents have a duty to support the child. Child support is calculated using the Florida Child Support Guidelines. Child support can be charged to the father retroactively for up to two years prior to the filing of the petition to establish paternity. Further, the father might be ordered to pay for the costs of the maternity and/or the cost of the hospital for the birth of the child.
Finally, either parent can request from the court a parenting plan as well as a timesharing plan which specifically spells out future interaction with the child. The plans are put in place to allow for physical access to the child as well as to set out how the parents will make decisions regarding the child’s upbringing. The father usually shares parental responsibility with the mother, which is the right to make decisions regarding the child’s health, education and welfare.
Sam R. Assini is a Florida lawyer in Cape Coral, Florida for Men’s Rights with the Law Firm of Sam R. Assini, LLC.