Parents are responsible for supporting their children even if they were unmarried and have since broken up. This includes both financial support and emotional support. For this reason, it is important to establish paternity, so the child’s mother can seek child support and the child’s father can seek visitation.
Voluntarily establishing paternity
There are some ways unmarried parents can voluntarily establish paternity. They can do so by signing paperwork at the hospital when the child is born. This paperwork is called a Paternity Acknowledgment form. This is a quick and easy way to establish paternity.
Unmarried parents can also voluntarily establish paternity after the child leaves the hospital. To do so, they need to fill out an Acknowledgement of Paternity form. This form must be signed and notarized, and then sent to the Florida Bureau of Vital Statistics.
If you do not agree on paternity
If there is a question as to who the child’s father is, either party can file a civil action in circuit court to establish paternity. Generally, this requires a DNA test. The court will determine whether the alleged father is the child’s biological father. If so, he will be ordered to pay child support, but he can also seek visitation with his child.
Establishing paternity benefits the child
Ultimately, the person who benefits the most from establishing paternity is the child. The child receives the financial support of both parents and can have a relationship with both parents. This way the child can grow up in a healthy environment where their needs are met.