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Paternity


Paternity actions are the proper cause of action to file when there is a minor child and the parties are not married.  In a paternity case, you can ask for a DNA test to establish the paternity of the minor child.  A paternity action is also the vehicle to address parental responsibility, time sharing and child support.  Please be aware that many paternity cases can be very complicated and, if you are the biological father (sometimes referred to as the putative father) you must take affirmative steps to protect your parental rights.

There is no such thing as custody or visitation in Florida.  However, we do have parental responsibility and time sharing.  In our paternity cases, the parents will have to develop a parenting plan, which will have to be approved by the judge assigned, or the judge will create a parenting plan for you. 

A parenting plan will address where the child is from day to day, how the child is shared during the holidays and summer months.  The parenting plan will also address parental responsibility and other issues affecting the child.   The parenting plan must be based on what is in the best interest of the child.   

Moreover, simultaneous with the parenting plan, child support will be calculated.  Child support is based on the premise that both parents equally share a duty to support their children.  The award of support to one party for the benefit of the children is based on monetary need and ability to pay.  Child support is calculated based on very specific guidelines found in the Florida statues.