Paternity Lawyer

Paternity Attorney Brevard County


Both parents have a right to spend time with their child.  However, unwed parents have slightly different rights than married parents.  In these cases, the father’s paternity must be established, meaning a Court must recognize him as the legal father of the child after a Petition to Establish Paternity is filed.  Sharing DNA with your child establishes the biological status.  But what is the legal status?

When a woman gives birth to a child during her marriage, the husband is presumed to be the legal father of the child, despite who may be the biological father.  When an unwed woman gives birth to a child, the father needs to take steps to establish his paternity.  Merely having signed the birth certificate does not establish paternity, although it is a sworn affidavit acknowledging paternity, which allows the father to seek to establish his paternity in court without having to take a DNA test.

Until paternity is established, the father does not have timesharing rights with the child, nor parental responsibility and the mother does not have a right to child support.  Of course there are exceptions as it relates to the Department of Revenue, which will not be covered here.

Whether you are a mother seeking to establish paternity to gain financial support for your child, or a father desiring timesharing, take the time to determine what your goals are and whether your actions will meet the best interest of the child.

A Few Myths To Dispel

  1. I signed the birth certificate so I have a right to spend time with my child.
    False.  Signing a birth certificate does not establish a father’s timesharing right.

  2. The mother of my child allowed me to take my child on alternating weekends, but since she will not let me see him anymore, I will just pick him from school like usual.
    Bad idea.  You did not previously establish your rights, and therefore you do not have a legal right to exercise timesharing that is not ordered or agreed upon.

  3. They stopped paying child support, so I do not need to allow timesharing.
    False.  One has nothing to do with the other.  Timesharing must be honored, even if child support is not being paid.  And visa versa.

  4. The father of my child is just now establishing his rights so I will get child support back to the date of my child’s birth.
    False.  You are permitted to seek child support 24 months prior to the date of filing a Petition to Establish Paternity, provided the parties were separated during those 24 months.