Why Should I Establish My Paternity?
Some parents do not think it is important to legally establish their child’s paternity. After all, you know who your child is, and you do not need court approval to love your child or be part of his or her life.
But actually, there are circumstances under which you do need court approval to be part of your child’s life. Say you have a child with a partner to whom you are not married. Because you are not married, your name, if you are the partner who did not give birth, is not automatically added to your child’s birth certificate. If your relationship with that partner ends, you can face the reality of not having parental rights to your child because you never actually established your paternity. Below are a few reasons why Florida parents establish their children’s paternity.
To Establish Legal Parental Rights
This is the most important reason to establish your paternity. If you are not your child’s legal parent, you do not have any of the following rights:
- To seek child support payments;
- To establish and modify a parenting plan;
- To be notified if your former partner wants to place the child for adoption;
- To object to your former partner’s relocation with your child beyond 50 miles from his or her current residence; and
- To claim your child as a dependent on your tax return and health insurance.
Additionally, establishing your paternity will enable your child to inherit your assets through probate after your death.
To Know for Sure that your Child is Biologically Yours
You do not have you be your child’s biological father to be his or her legal father. Nor do you have to be his or her legal or biological father to have a strong relationship with him or her. But when a child’s biological parentage is in question, having DNA testing done can give you the peace of mind that a child is – or is not – biologically related to you.
Keep in mind that if you are your child’s legal father, a DNA test showing that you are not biologically related will not terminate your legal relationship with him or her. Terminating parental rights is a separate, complex process that involves court determination of your child’s best interest and your role in fulfilling his or her best interests.
To Build a Stronger Relationship with your Child
For many parents, establishing paternity is also a satisfying way to solidify the bond with their child. In some families, this also solidifies the bond between the child and the father’s parents and extended family.
Work with an Experienced Tampa Family Lawyer
Our team of Tampa family lawyers at Bubley & Bubley, P.A. can work with you to establish your paternity or to represent your case in any other parentage-related proceeding, such as establishing parental rights, adopting a stepchild, or modifying a parenting plan. Contact our office today to schedule your initial legal consultation with us to learn more.