Florida Paternity Lawyer
When it comes to issues of paternity, a lawyer focusing on family law and child support can help you protect your rights against fraudulent paternity claims or denial of parental rights. Attorney Matthew Irwin is one of the only child custody attorneys serving Fort Myers, Cape Coral and the surrounding region. Paternity issues can be complicated and failure to represent yourself correctly could result in denied parental rights, excessive child support payments and other consequences.
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Avoid Losing Your Child Custody Rights
If you think you may be the father of a child whose mother is not your wife, it is best to establish paternity early on and get a head start in participating in your child’s life. Even if the mother says she doesn’t want support money from you and won’t force you to claim the child, that is not her right and you could be forced to pay child support by the court.
Florida law puts the best interests of children before those of the parents. If your child’s mother cannot support herself, you could be forced by the courts into confirming whether or not you are the father. According to Florida family law, child support is required from both parents, either as custody and care of the child or in financial support. If you are the father of the child and have not been a part of the child’s life thus far, your visitation or shared parenting could be extremely limited, but you will still be forced to pay child support. In fact it’s likely you’ll be forced to pay for child support in arrears - for the years you weren’t paying what you should have. This can result in excessive payment amounts that will make it difficult for you to live your life.
The bottom line is if there’s a chance you could be paying child support down the road, it’s best to find out early if you’re the father. That way you can protect your rights as a father and avoid unnecessary hassles and excessive child support payments.
If a woman claims you’re the father of her child and you don’t think it’s true, it’s still best to confirm or refute your paternity as soon as possible. Establishing early on, with the help of a paternity lawyer, that you are not the father can eliminate years of hassle and protect your rights against unwarranted child support orders.
How To Establish Paternity
If you are married to a child’s mother at the time of birth, you are assumed to be the child’s father. A paternity action can negate that assumption if someone else may be the father.
If you are not married to the child’s mother and you both agree that you are the father, legal proceedings can establish legal paternity. If you are not in agreement about who the father is, the most accurate course of action is a DNA test. A DNA test usually consists of comparing DNA in blood samples from the child, mother and suspected father. DNA is 95% to 99% accurate and meets the burden of proof required by Florida law. A DNA test can be ordered by the court or requested by a paternity lawyer prior to a trial in order to avoid any surprises.