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Few events in life are more meaningful or rewarding than becoming a father. You hold that baby in your arms and imagine the wonderful future that you intend to give them. As writer Dan Greenberg once put it, “When my son looks up at me and breaks into his wonderful toothless smile, my eyes fill up and I know that having him is the best thing I will ever do.”

From a legal perspective, however, this relationship becomes complicated if you are not married to your child’s mother at the time of the birth. Although Florida law automatically regards married men as the biological fathers of any children born of the marriage, men who live with their partner are considered putative fathers and lack legal rights until they establish paternity.

Attorney Dahlia A. Walker-Huntington believes that fathers bring immense and lasting value to a child’s life, and will help you legally affirm paternity so that your bond is legal as well as emotional.

How do you prove paternity in Florida?

The simplest way is for you and the child’s mother to sign a Paternity Acknowledgment form in the hospital. If this doesn’t happen for some reason (e.g., you are separated at the time the baby is born), you can file a Petition to Determine Paternity, which will legally establish you as the father and deliver the following benefits:

  • The right to make decisions regarding where the child lives, where they go to school, and what religious faith they observe
  • Right to custody / timesharing if you and the mother end your relationship
  • Inheritance rights for the child as well as the right to receive derivative benefits like health coverage and Social Security
  • More informed healthcare for the child, as their treating physicians can get your family history as well as the mother’s.

Studies have shown that men who remain present in their children’s lives have a positive impact on each child’s emotional and mental well-being. You’re a dad, and you matter! Let us help you protect your rights as well as your relationship.

Preserving the father-child connection

If you want to want to establish paternity of your child, the Law Offices of Dahlia A. Walker, PA will guide you through the necessary steps and help you pursue your rights as a parent should it ever become necessary. To learn more about how we can help you grow your family, contact Dahlia A. Walker-Huntington at 954-963-8555.