Tristan Thompson’s Paternity Story – A Reoccurring Scandal and Its Legal Details

Did you hear Tristan Thompson’s paternity test confirmed he fathered a third child? And it’s not with Khloe Kardashian!

He released a statement on Instagram the first week of January, confirming he is the father of fitness model, Maralee Nichol’s newborn son and apologized for his actions and to those he hurt. The child was born in December 2021.

Maralee Nichol filed a paternity lawsuit last year in Los Angeles against Thompson. During the court filings, several text messages were shared in which Thompson stated he did not want to be involved in the child’s life. Additionally, Thompson proposed offering Nichol $75,000 instead of paying monthly child support, because he claimed she would only be receiving “a few hundred dollars of child support a month.”

How would this situation be handled in Florida?

Establishing Paternity in Florida

Under Florida law, when a mother is married at the time she gives birth, the law will assume that the mother’s husband is the child’s father. However, if the child’s mother is unmarried, paternity must be established either voluntarily or through court order.

Paternity is established voluntarily when the mother and father agree on the child’s father. The mother and father can sign a “Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity” form. When the parents sign this document, they are acknowledging that the person signing the form is the child’s legal father and swearing under oath that the information is true.

If there is no Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity form signed, either the mother or the person who believes he is the father of the child may petition the court to establish paternity.

Where to start a Florida Paternity Action

You should file your paternity case in the circuit court for the county where either the mother or alleged father reside. Generally, the court will order a DNA test for the mother, child and the alleged father. You can file your case before the child’s birth, but the final hearing can’t be held until after the child is born.

During paternity proceedings, the court may also make determinations on the following issues:

  • child support;
  • health insurance for the child;
  • timesharing;
  • decision making authority over the child, and;
  • payment of either party’s attorney’s fees and court costs, such as the cost to start the case in court.

If the court does not make determinations regarding parenting time or decision making for the child, Florida law assumes that the mother has all the parenting time and sole decision-making authority.

Why Establish Paternity?

There are several important reasons to establish paternity. First, if a mother is left to support a child on her own, she may benefit from receiving child support payments. However, absent a determination on paternity, the mother will not be able to receive child support payments. Additionally, the alleged father may have health insurance benefits that are available for the child, or the child may be entitled to government benefits if the alleged father is disabled or a veteran.

Many men are also aware of the importance of establishing paternity over their children. Without establishing paternity, a child’s father will not be entitled to the legal rights of a parent. For example, if the parents are not on good terms and are unable to agree on terms for timesharing, the alleged father may need court orders for his share of parenting time. Additionally, the father may want joint decision-making authority with the mother. This means that the father and mother have an equal voice in decisions concerning the child’s health care, education, and other major issues. A father cannot obtain these court orders without establishing his paternity.

Most importantly, establishing paternity will be beneficial to the child because the child will now have a father present in their life.

Paternity proceedings can be a complicated and emotional process. Paternity cases can cover a range of topics such as the establishment of child support, parenting plans, parental responsibility, child dependency for taxes, medical expenses, and more.

The Florida Probate & Family Law Firm has a team of experienced Probate and Family attorneys located in Coral Gables, Florida. As attorneys who have extensive knowledge in Family law, we understand it can be a time-consuming and a complicated process. If you are currently in need of a paternity action, contact us to set up an appointment to evaluate your options. We serve the entire state of Florida so call us at 305-677-5119.

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