These days, an increasingly high percentage of American babies are born to parents who were never married, and such situations can give rise to a wide range of highly emotional and paternity-related issues. Maybe you are the mother of a child and the person you believe fathered your son or daughter denies it and refuses to help support your child. Or, conversely, maybe you believe you fathered a child and wish to become a part of this child’s life, but the child’s mother is making this difficult.

Regardless of which side of the equation you find yourself on, the process of establishing paternity in Florida remains the same. Just how can you go about establishing paternity in Florida, and what, exactly, does that mean for the child and father?

Establishing paternity

You have several different options when it comes to establishing paternity in Florida. Unless you were married to your child’s other parent at the time of the birth, you will need to legally establish paternity before you can secure child support, or, conversely, seek time with your child.

The first and arguably easiest way to do this involves simply having both parents agree that the suspected father did, in fact, father the infant in question before that infant ever leaves the hospital. If this does not happen, you can establish paternity after the fact by doing so when applying for a marriage license. If you do not plan to ever marry your child’s other parent, the two of you can still establish paternity voluntarily up until the child in question turns 18.

If none of these methods meet your needs, you can also establish paternity with a court order. This will involve having the suspected father submit to genetic testing to prove whether he did, in fact, father the child in question.

While establishing paternity is a great way to find out important information about your child’s medical history, it can also have important ramifications when it comes to health insurance, life insurance, inheritances, benefits and so on.