Caring Jacksonville Paternity Lawyers
Child Support and Paternity Lawyers Protecting the Rights of Florida Fathers
The legal process can be intimidating, especially when you are dealing with matters related to your kids. That’s why our Jacksonville paternity lawyers place substantial importance on helping parents and families understand the laws affecting paternity. Our Jacksonville paternity law firm maintains close contact with our clients, teaching them about how Florida law applies to parents and assisting them in making decisions that will be the best for them and their children.
Our Jacksonville paternity lawyers help parents and families take actions to establish the paternity of children. We know that a paternity determination can have a serious impact on your relationship with your children and your life, in addition to your parental rights.
In our thirty years of combined family law experience, there are two reasons why mothers or alleged fathers request paternity tests. The mother is seeking support from the person who she believes is the child’s father, or the father is attempting to establish parental rights. The reverse of this is true as well. Oftentimes, a mother or alleged father is attempting to disprove paternity to deny parental rights or to avoid paying child support, respectively.
If you believe that you are not the father of the child, Florida law allows you to challenge child support through a paternity action. You and the child may need to submit to DNA testing to determine the true biological nature of the relationship. Our paternity attorneys in Jacksonville can arrange and schedule the tests with the child’s mother or legal guardian.
How Paternity Relates to Child Support
In Florida, just having your name on the birth certificate is not enough to establish paternity. The court requires the establishment of paternity through a court order, even if everyone agrees on the identity of the father. Regardless of whether it’s accomplished via a genetic test, a court order by a Florida judge, or a combination of both, when paternity is established, it can affect your parental rights and obligations to your child, impacting things like child support, child custody, visitation, or timesharing.
Benefits of Establishing Paternity in Florida
So many rights attach to parenthood in the state of Florida. Without formal recognition of your status as the father of your child, it can be difficult or impossible to do many of the things that most fathers take for granted.
Likewise, legal recognition of parental rights can confer important benefits on the child, the mother, and the community as well.
Key benefits of establishing paternity under Florida law include:
- Having the father’s name listed on the birth certificate, school records, legal documents, etc.
- Ability to access the child’s medical records and be involved in medical decisions
- Ability of the child and mother to access the child’s family medical history
- Psychological benefits for the child in knowing who his or her father is (and not having that identity questioned or challenged by legal discrepancy)
- Ability of the mother to seek child support from the father (when warranted by the circumstances)
- Ensuring the child and father have the right to spend time together through custody, visitation, or time-sharing arrangements
- Making the child an eligible beneficiary of the father’s life insurance policy, disability benefits, etc.
- Providing the legal right for the child to benefit under the father’s health insurance policy
- Ensuring the child is eligible for inheritance if the father dies without a will
The Importance of Sensitivity, Discretion, and Compassion
Florida paternity suits and child support actions often involve highly delicate and sensitive situations. In addition to the important legal interests at stake – many of which may echo throughout a lifetime and beyond – there is a very real emotional component to these cases which must not be ignored.
As Jacksonville paternity lawyers, we are committed to providing our clients compassionate, confidential, and effective legal representation.
We fight for our clients’ rights, and we do everything in our power to advance their best interests. But we also look for opportunities to do that in a way that will keep costs down and won’t inflict unnecessary hardship or strife on the family or the child.
Through forty years of experience in family law, our Jacksonville paternity attorneys have developed strategies for deftly navigating even the most challenging and sensitive family dynamics. That’s the difference that substantial experience can make.
Do We Have to Go to Court?
There is only one way to establish paternal rights in Florida: through a court order.
Even for unmarried couples who are together when the child is born and who do not dispute either party’s parentage, a legal instrument is still required for establishing parentage. The birth certificate is not enough.
Accordingly, actions for establishing paternity in Florida follow the same process as most other civil lawsuits in our state. The petitioning party files a formal complaint with the court, serves notice of the complaint on the other party, and then both parties must adhere to the timelines and rules of procedure going forward.
However, in many cases, there is a lot that our Jacksonville paternity lawyers can accomplish through negotiation outside of court to help expedite the process. This might mean resolving disputes, arranging for DNA tests, or communicating with the other person’s attorney, among other measures.
A Focus on Timely Results
As with most legal disputes, paternity lawsuits and child support actions can take some time. Often, however, families are eager to resolve the matter sooner rather than later — often due to a pressing legal concern, a major life event, a change in the relationship between the mother and father, or simply out of a desire to avoid prolonged heartache for the family.
Our Jacksonville paternity lawyers understand the importance of timely results. While it isn’t always possible to predict a timeline, and while no one can guarantee a specific outcome, we do everything we can to make the paternity process efficient and effective.
This helps to make our services more cost-effective and to make your life less uncertain during this challenging chapter.
We Represent Fathers and Mothers
No two cases are quite alike. Every situation is different. Paternity actions usually involve two parties (the mother and the father), and both sides are entitled to legal representation.
Our office believes in the rights of fathers in a court system that doesn’t always protect them as comprehensively as it should. We also believe that mothers have an important interest in these cases, as does the child.
Whatever your role in the paternity or child support case might be, we are here to help. You can count on your Jacksonville paternity lawyers to go after your best possible outcome.
Contact Our Family Law Office About Your Jacksonville Paternity Concerns
Our friendly and accessible paternity attorneys are available for confidential consultations at our Florida law office by calling (904) 288-4414. Contact us today.