Articles Posted in Paternity

movingkidsIn Florida, the biological fathers of children born out of wedlock have few, or no rights, regarding the children until the court establishes paternity.  Florida Statute 744.301 makes a child’s mother the natural guardian when a child is born to unmarried parents.  Mothers are deemed to have automatic custody when the child is born. This means a single mother has the parental responsibility to make important decisions regarding the child’s wellbeing and the child lives with the mother.  Generally, there are two methods for a biological father to gain parental rights. He can formally petition the court for these rights, or he may establish through an informal method with the mother’s consent.

Petitioning the court.

A father may take legal action to establish his parental rights. He can prove that he is the biological father and petition the court for parental rights. In Florida, a father can file a Petition to Establish Paternity to establish parental rights. The court may then issue a parenting plan, which will describe in detail how the mother and father will be responsible for the daily upbringing of the child, the time-sharing schedule, and methods of communication with the child.

After a court has established paternity through this method, the father has the same rights as he would if he were married to the child’s mother. The mother can also ask the court to order the father to pay child support. The amount of child support to be paid usually depends on the father’s income and guidelines established by state law.

What does it mean to be a putative father?

In Florida, the term “putative father” means an individual who is or may be the biological father of a child whose paternity has not been established and whose mother was unmarried when the child was conceived and born. In order to establish rights as a father, the putative father must file a notarized claim of paternity form with Florida’s Department of Health, which maintains the Florida Putative Father Registry. A claim of paternity may be filed at any time prior to the child’s birth, but a claim may not be filed after the date a petition is filed for termination of parental rights. Once a claim is filed with this department, the registrant expressly consents to submit to DNA testing upon the request of any party, the registrant, or the adoption entity with respect to the child referenced in the claim of paternity, according to Florida Statute 63.054.

A claim of paternity form does require the alleged father provide some information such as the name, address, date of birth and a physical description of the mother and the father. It also must provide the date, place, and location of conception of the child if known. Continue reading

At least that is what divorce lawyer Vikki Ziegler thinks he should do. She explains that in order to assure that the baby is legally “his,” he must take into account the fact that his girlfriend, Kim Kardashian, is still married to husband Kris Humphries.

Kanye must take Kim’s marriage to Kris into account because Kim’s Baby is legally presumed to be the offspring of her husband.

She advised Kim to end her marriage to Kris right away. This way she will be unmarried or married potentially to Kanye when her baby is born.

Most Jacksonville, Florida residents thinking of filing their own divorce haven’t heard the phrase, “He who represents himself has a fool for a client.” Unfortunately the court system is complicated, but it’s complicated because our lives are complicated. Some people say that their divorce is a “simple” one, some attorney’s say that there’s no such thing as a “simple divorce”. Just as I don’t dare to do simple mechanic work such as an oil change because I’m not a mechanic, a non-lawyer has to remember that a case that might be considered simple by an attorney isn’t necessarily simple for them.

There are complex pleadings that are required to make a divorce judgment final. Just because it says “Final” in the title doesn’t make it so. You can’t depend on a judge to tell you if you’ve made a mistake either, they’re not allowed to give you legal advice and are often so busy with their heavy case loads that they’ll sign almost anything you agree to.

A recent case I saw was that of a woman who had become pregnant from an adulterous affair while living with her husband. Under Florida law, the only people who have the right to contest the parentage of a baby born during a marriage while the couple is cohabitation is the wife and husband. This is because Florida values the interest of preserving the marriage above the rights of unmarried fornicators to raise their own children.

paternity.jpgAs a Jacksonville Family Law Lawyer, I often have cases where a mother and father are not married to one another but they have a child in common. In my experience many men falsely believe simply because their name is on the birth certificate that they are legally the fathers. In Florida this is simply not the case! There is more that is required for unwed fathers in Florida to gain legal rights over their children.

Under Florida law, until a Judge signs an Order which determines that an unwed man is the father of a child, then the child is NOT legally his. As such, the man has no legal rights to the child. That includes no rights for timesharing and no rights over major decisions in the child’s life. This means that if the child’s mother does not want to allow the alleged father to see the child, she is under no legal obligation to do so.

In order to be recognized as the legal father in Florida it is necessary to file what is called a Petition for Determination of Paternity. Paternity actions are brought before a court in order to assist a parent in acknowledging and protecting important time-sharing and child support rights and/or obligations.

baby dad.jpgAs a Jacksonville Family Law Lawyer, I often have cases where the parties are not married but they have a child in common. In my experience many men falsely believe simply because their name is on the birth certificate that they are legally the fathers. In Florida this is simply not the case!

Under Florida law, until a Judge signs an Order which determines you are the father, then the child is NOT legally yours. As such, you have no legal rights to the child for timesharing or parental rights of any kind.

In order to be recognized as the legal father in Florida it is necessary to file what is called a Petition for Determination of Paternity. Paternity actions are brought before the court in order to assist a parent in acknowledging and protecting important time-sharing and child support rights and/or obligations.

The State of Florida has child support guidelines that must be followed when calculating child support in a divorce or paternity case. Generally speaking, the parties’ combined net income, the percentage of time each party spends with the children, and the number of children involved are used in determining the amount of child support. Child care costs and health insurance costs are also added into the equation when determining child support.

It is important to note that child support cannot be waived by the parents. Child support is considered a right of the child not of the parent. Therefore, parents cannot bargain away their duty to support their child(ren).

Contact a Jacksonville Child Support Lawyer for further information of Florida’s Child Support laws.

usher.jpgDrug testing is a common issue in divorce and other legal proceedings involving children. Family Law Judges in Jacksonville have the authority to order a parent who is alleged to be using and or abusing illegal substances to submit to a drug test. This usually occurs upon motion of the other party or parent.

Reportedly, R&B star, Usher, is finding himself in this exact situation. Neontommy.com posted an article, which opens with, “In the heat of a custody battle, Usher’s ex-wife, Tameka Raymond, is practically begging for the judge to have him drug tested. She claims that the R&B superstar “pops pills” and “who knows what else” in front of their two boys.”

If you live in the Jacksonville area and are concerned that your ex-spouse or soon-to-be-ex-spouse is abusing drugs around your children contact a Jacksonville Family Law Lawyer today to schedule a free consultation.

retroactive cs.jpgIt’s not uncommon for parents to decide to part ways and raise their children separately. Some parents are able to work things out without going to court, but oftentimes the court needs to step in and help determine each parent’s rights.

Child support payments are often contested in these situations. Your former spouse may think you owe more than you think you do. If you go to court, you may find the court is on your side. If the court orders child support payments, however, you may find yourself owing more than you originally thought.

In fact, in paternity actions, dissolution of marriages, or petitions for support during marriage, the court has the discretion to award child support retroactive to the date when the parents did not reside together. The court can order payments from up to 24 months in the past.

putative father.jpegThe State of Florida’s legislature, in 2003, created what is called a “Putative Father Registry.” This registry was created so unmarried “putative” fathers could register their intent to exercise parental rights to a child who the they believe may have been born by virtue of a sexual relationship they had with the child’s mother. What exactly does putative father mean? Putative father is a person who is alleged to be the father of a child or the supposed father of a child.

Florida Law states that an unmarried man, by virtue of the fact that he engaged in a sexual relationship with a woman, is deemed to be on notice that a pregnancy and an adoption proceeding regarding the child may occur and that he has a duty to protect his own rights and interest.

In order to preserve the right to notification and consent in the event of an adoption an unmarried man in the State of Florida must file a claim of Paternity with the Florida Putative Father Registry. By doing this he must confirm his inclination and intent to support the child for whom paternity is claimed. However, such a claim of paternity may not be filed after the date a Petition is filed for the Termination of Parental Rights.

whos your daddy.jpgAs a Jacksonville Paternity Lawyer, I often have cases where the parties are not married but they have a child in common. In my experience many men falsely believe simply because their name is on the birth certificate that they are legally the fathers. In Florida this is simply not the case!

Under Florida law, until a Judge signs an Order which determines you are the father, then the child is NOT legally yours. As such, you have no legal rights to the child for timesharing or parental rights of any kind.

In order to be recognized as the legal father in Florida it is necessary to file what is called a Petition for Determination of Paternity. Paternity actions are brought before the court in order to assist a parent in acknowledging and protecting important time-sharing and child support rights and/or obligations.

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