Before a father can enforce his rights as a parent under the law, his paternity must be recognized by the court. In some cases, this is a formality. In other situations, paternity questions lead to major disputes. A practiced family attorney can help resolve these issues.

The paternity process may feel complicated, but it does not have to be. Having an attorney by your side gives you the support you need to navigate the process. A West Miami paternity lawyer can help you pursue your rights as a parent.

When is Paternity Presumed?

Under the law, there are times when a Judge will presume that an individual is the father of a minor child. This presumption is helpful in some cases, as it simplifies the paternity process. However, presumptions can also be rebutted.

One situation where the courts presume paternity is when a child is born to married parents. The husband of the mother who gives birth is presumed to be the child’s father.

Another situation where paternity is presumed is when a person lists themselves as the father on the birth certificate. There is an additional step required in these cases, however: the father must either marry the mother before the child is born or sign a voluntary acknowledgement of paternity after the birth.

Voluntarily Acknowledging Paternity

Even without a presumption of paternity, it is possible for a father to voluntarily acknowledge his legal status as a parent. This voluntary acknowledgement is a common method used by parents who agree regarding the identity of a child’s father.

It is important to remember both parents must agree to a voluntary acknowledgement of paternity. A father cannot acknowledge paternity and gain the rights associated with parenthood without the agreement of the mother. When both sides cannot agree, the parties must resolve the issue through litigation.

A West Miami paternity attorney assists with this voluntary approach. In some cases, they help reach an agreement with a reluctant party in order to avoid costly litigation.

Paternity Litigation

The unfortunate reality is that some paternity disputes cannot be resolved peacefully. Issues of paternity are often highly emotional situations. This can make it difficult for two people to see eye-to-eye, even on issues as important as the paternity of a minor child.

With paternity litigation, the first step in the process is filing a petition with the court. Either the prospective father or the mother can initiate this process. It is the responsibility of the filing party to serve the other parent with notice of the proceedings. Once this is done, the Judge will order the father to submit to DNA testing to determine if there is a biological match with the child.

It is a good idea to have the guidance and legal counsel of a West Miami attorney during any paternity case, but especially in cases where these disputes result in a lawsuit.

Talk to a West Miami Paternity Attorney Today

It is not in your best interest to face a paternity dispute on your own. An attorney from The Florida Probate & Family Law Firm can help you determine the best path and guide you along the way. Call our office today to connect with a West Miami paternity lawyer and get started with a free case evaluation. We are here to help you understand your rights and protect your future.