Establishing paternity allows a father and mother to decide how they would like to handle child support, custody, and visitation rights. It also gives everyone peace of mind in knowing who the legal father of a child is. When you are in this situation, a Coconut Grove paternity lawyer can enforce your legal rights and understand what happens during these cases.

Our family attorneys will listen to your story and help create a legal strategy that aligns with your goals. We can represent you in court, file legal paperwork, and negotiate with the other party.

Who Can File a Paternity Case?

Florida law allows a mother who is pregnant or has a child to file a paternity case. An adult child can also file a suit to establish who their legal father is. Likewise, a man who believes he is a child’s father can file a paternity lawsuit to confirm it.

A paternity case may be appropriate if the child’s mother and the alleged father are unmarried. Under state law, the father has legal rights over the child if he marries the child’s mother after the child’s birth.

There may be some questions as to who can file a paternity action and when they can do so. For legal questions about the process and what is at stake, consider contacting a paternity lawyer in Coconut Grove for help. They can analyze the person’s situation and advise them on the possible courses of action.

What Happens During a Paternity Case?

One of the outcomes of a paternity case is the Judge makes a legal declaration as to whether someone is a child’s legal father. Whoever starts the paternity case files a legal form (the complaint) in the county where they live or where the other party lives. For example, an alleged father can file a case with the circuit court in the county where the mother lives.

The complaint gives the Judge basic information about the people involved and why they believe a certain party is – or is not – the child’s father. For example, if genetic testing shows they are the child’s father, they can mention this in the complaint and file a copy of the medical records with the court. The Judge reviews the evidence, including the response by the other party, and makes a legal determination.

The parties may also make decisions about child support and parenting time, so it is essential for everyone to understand their legal rights. Coconut Grove paternity lawyers understand the nuances involved in these cases and help negotiate a support and parenting time arrangement that is fair.

What Happens After the Judge Signs the Paternity Order?

Once the Judge determines that someone is the legal father of a child, the mother and father can discuss other legal arrangements. Both mother and father have legal rights to spend time with the child and receive child support. There may be an exception if the Judge believes a parent is engaging in abusive behavior or cannot care for the child.

In many cases, the father and mother negotiate (usually with the help of a lawyer) to decide what parenting time schedule works best for their situation. When they reach an agreement, they present it to the Judge for review. The Judge looks at each parent’s situation, and the personality and development stage of the child, to decide what parenting time arrangement would be best.

Navigating these difficult conversations about finances and custody can be challenging for someone to handle on their own. A paternity lawyer in Coconut Grove can help ease this burden and serve as an effective advocate.

Contact a Coconut Grove Paternity Attorney for Assistance Today

Determining the legal father of a child provides clarity and direction to all individuals involved. Because paternity cases often concern legal rights and responsibilities, it is a good idea to talk to The Florida Probate & Family Law Firm before going at it alone.

Our Coconut Grove paternity lawyers can provide valuable insight and direction for your family. Schedule a free consultation with us to learn more details.