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Establishing paternity: do I really need to worry about it?

For many people, becoming a parent is one of the happiest days of their lives. However, this experience is not always as joyful or immediate as you may expect, particularly for men across Florida.

In the eyes of the law, becoming a father is not as predictable or straightforward as becoming a mother. Unless you are married -- and sometimes even if you are married -- you very well may have questions and concerns about the legalities of being named a father.

For example, if you are married, Florida laws dictate that you will automatically be named the father of any child your wife bears. You won't have to take a paternity test and you will have parental rights right away. While this automatic presumption of paternity works well for most people, there are some serious issues that can arise if the mother was unfaithful and there is a possibility that a husband is not the biological father of a child.

If you are not married to the mother of a child, you could still be in for some unfortunate surprises. A court may issue an order assigning you as the legal father of a child even if you do not acknowledge it or take a DNA test. Alternatively, you may learn that you have no parental rights if you are not married to the child's mother and you two break up, even if you both confirmed paternity informally.

Because of all that can be at stake, from parental rights to the relationship between father and child, it can be crucial for men across Florida to understand their options in regard to confirming or challenging paternity. 

Addressing paternity concerns with the help of your attorney can be one of the most crucial steps a man can take as a father or presumed father. Without legal support, you could wind up supporting a child that is not yours or learn that you do not have the parental rights you may have assumed you had.

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Law Office of Kelley A. Joseph, P.A.
Royal Palm II
900 South Pine Island Road, Suite 230
Plantation, FL 33324

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