People often think of “paternity” cases as cases involving disputes regarding the identity of a child’s father. While paternity cases sometimes involve the resolution of the identity of the child’s father – often through the use of DNA testing – there are many other circumstances that trigger a paternity case. A paternity action is brought by an unmarried parent – sometimes a mother, and sometimes a father –who wishes to establish his or her rights regarding timesharing with the child, participation in decisions concerning the child’s healthcare, education, and other important issues, and child support. In a majority of these cases, the identity of the parent is not in dispute. However, just like when a marriage ends, the termination of a relationship between two unmarried parents often involves disagreement regarding the parties’ respective rights.
Paternity cases could involve some or all of the following issues:
Determination of Paternity. Under Florida law, a proceeding to determine the paternity of a child may be brought by (a) any woman who is pregnant or has a child, (b) any man who has reason to believe that he is the father of a child, or (c) any child. If the paternity of the child is disputed, the court may order a DNA test to conclusively determine paternity.
Timesharing and Parental Responsibility. Even when the parties agree on the paternity of a child, the parties may disagree regarding the amount of timesharing each party is entitled to have with the child, and they may disagree as to how decisions affecting the health, education, and welfare of the child will be made. Timesharing and parental responsibility are two of the main issues that are resolved in a paternity case – either through a jointly-created parenting plan if the parties ultimately agree, or through a parenting plan created by the judge after hearing evidence from the parties.
Child Support. Just as the children of married parents are entitled to support, children of unmarried parents are entitled to support, as well. Thus, in a paternity case, the court will determine the parties’ support obligations based on their respective incomes, and then, based on a timesharing schedule, determine whether one parent will be required to pay child support to the other parent.
Tampa Paternity Attorneys
The family law attorneys at Older, Lundy & Alvarez are experienced in representing unmarried parents who wish to establish and assert their rights to spend significant time with their children and to have a voice in making important decisions that affect the lives of their children, and who wish to establish the parties’ respective obligations to provide support for their children. Our lawyers aggressively advocate for their clients’ rights. In most cases, their reputation, preparation and aggressive advocacy result in settlements in which the clients’ rights are recognized. In cases in which the parties cannot reach a settlement, our lawyers will be prepared to vigorously and zealously make your case in court.
Call Older Lundy & Alvarez for Assistance with Your Paternity Case
For practical advice and effective representation in your paternity action, whether in the Tampa Bay area or beyond, contact Older Lundy & Alvarez at 813-254-8998 to schedule a consultation with our experienced and dedicated family law attorneys.