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Determining the Rights and Responsibilities of Unmarried Parents in Florida

When a child’s parents are unmarried, either the mother or the state has a strong interest in identifying the father through his own acknowledgment or by means of a DNA test. From the standpoint of the mother and the state, it’s important to determine and enforce a child support obligation on the part of the natural father. From the standpoint of the father, determination of paternity is the essential first step in obtaining a secure right of access to the child.

If you need legal advice on either side of a paternity issue in Broward County or South Florida, talk to an attorney at Moraitis & Raimondi, LLP. With more than 30 years of family law experience, we can help you understand your rights and responsibilities while giving you the opportunity to stabilize your relationship with your child.

Paternity and Fathers’ Rights: Call 954-525-9600

Child support obligations in paternity are determined under the state guidelines in much the same way as they are in divorce, with one important exception: In a paternity case, it is not necessary to work out a parenting plan and time-sharing agreement between the unmarried parents. The focus of the proceeding is strictly on the identity of the father and the amount of the child support obligation.

In recent years, however, some unmarried fathers have used the paternity procedure to resolve child custody and visitation issues as well as their support obligations. The father can file a motion for time-sharing in the same case, or he can file a separate petition at any time after the determination of paternity. Many unmarried fathers value the opportunity to formalize and protect their parent-child relationship from what might be an unstable or estranged relationship with the mother.