Paternity is the formal word for becoming the father of a child. Paternity must be checked when two adults who are not married have a child and then separate. Certain facets of family law litigation must be decided in court only after paternity has been confirmed. Here’s what’s important about paternity tests and when they’re necessary in some family legal issues.
How Paternity Testing Is Used By a Family Court
Paternity testing is generally ordered by a court in the following types of cases:
When a Child’s Mother Requests Paternal Financial Support
If the mother of a child who separates from the child’s father and wants financial support for her child, she must demonstrate that the alleged father is biologically related, particularly if he opposes it.
A court cannot order anyone to financially assist a child without an official paternity test. When the mother of the child formally files for child support, the state usually notifies the parent identified in the order that paternity tests will be conducted.
When a Child’s Father Files for Custody and/or Visitation
If you want to have a relationship with your child or get any visitation or parenting time with them, you’ll need to prove genetic paternity. If you can show that you are the child’s natural father, the judge cannot deny you visitation or custody without cause.
Following the establishment of paternity , you and the child’s mother can start negotiating a co-parenting and visiting schedule that works for all of you. When parents are unable to compromise, a judge can step in and make the choice for you based on what’s best for the child.
When Fathers’ Rights Need to Be Established
If you’re the father of a minor child, you may want retain your parental rights to be informed of and make decisions regarding important matters such as your child’s education and health. This is true even if you don’t have custody or only have supervised visitation.
Once you’ve proven your legal paternity, this means a court can uphold your right to still have a voice in important decisions that impact your child’s general well-being, such as medical care and school attendance.
Get Legal Support Now When You Need It Most
Don’t wait to get family legal support from a veteran Tampa family and divorce lawyer. Bucholz Family Law can help you establish paternity and advocate for your rights regardless of which side of the issue you’re on. Contact us today for your consultation at (813) 902-9100.