Father fishing with sonThis is the next post in my series on Melbourne, Florida child custody cases which involve a paternity dispute. My last article provided an overview of topics which I will be addressing in the course of this series. It also stressed the need to speak with an attorney rather than engaging in some form of self-help in regards to your child. In this post I will discuss an important topic – the general need for a parentage order. If you require assistance the contact my office today to speak with a lawyer.

Florida is like many other states in that it does not recognize the rights or obligations of a father unless paternity has been established. This means that a dad will not have a right to custody or visitation and a mother will be seen as within her rights to withhold the child from the father. The lack of an order also means that the father will not have any decision making authority when it comes to the child. In other words, the mother will not be required to consider the father’s input when it comes to issues such as education and general upbringing. Also, a dad will not have the legal authority needed to consent to medical care (meaning he cannot take the child to the hospital), to enroll a child in school, etc. This means that, for all intents and purposes, the dad will not be considered a “father” in the eyes of the law until paternity is established.

It is also important to understand that a male will also have no obligations to a child until paternity is established. This means that the dad will not be required to pay child support, to provide health insurance, or to otherwise care for the child. A mother will not be able to file a support action against the dad without first establishing paternity. It is important to understand, however, that once paternity is established then the Court will typically require the father to pay back support and a plan will be put in place to ensure that the dad has time with the child.

If you or a loved one are going through a paternity dispute then it is important that you contact an attorney to assist you. Counsel will help you to ensure that your case is handled properly, that all facts are presented to the Court, and that the best interests of your child are protected. As a Melbourne paternity lawyer, I handle such cases. Contact my office today to schedule an initial appointment. My office also services clients in the Brevard County cities of Titusville, Cocoa, Palm Bay, Grant, Valkaria, and Rockledge, as well as in the Indian River County areas of Fellsmere, Sebastian, Vero Beach, Indian River Shores, and Orchid.