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Paternity: Legal or Biological Parent. Which one wins?

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    Whether a child is born during a marriage or not makes a difference in how paternity is handled.  The law states that a child born during the marriage is presumed to be a child of the marriage.  Therefore, if the Husband is not the child’s biological father the marital status could trump the biological fathers rights.  Some believe the law is behind in this regard being there are so many people who are legally married but separated having children with other men or someone having an affair which led to a child being born.  This is becoming a more common problem.

    Marriage and Paternity

    As stated above, married men are presumed to be the father of  a child born during the marriage and have the same parental rights to the child as the mother.  If the Husband believes the child is not his biological child he must take affirmative steps to disapprove his paternity.  However, it is important to note that even if the Husband is not the biological father that does not automatically mean his rights will be terminated or that he will not be financially obligated for this child.  It is important that if you find yourself in this position that you speak with an Orlando Family Law Attorney immediately.

    Unmarried Father and Paternity

    There are a few things a man should do if they believe they are the biological father to a child.  First they should register with the Putative Father registry. This would require the Mother to notify you in the event the child is going to be placed up for adoption. This should be done prior to the child being born especially if you are concerned that the mother may place the baby up for adoption.  Once the petition to terminate parental rights has been filed this is not an option.  In addition, once the baby is born you should take the necessary steps to establish paternity.  This can be done one of two ways: the parties can agree and file an acknowledgement of paternity with the state or you can file the appropriate petition to have the court establish paternity.  If the parents agree, the acknowledgement of paternity can be completed at the hospital at the time the baby is born or it can be submitted to the Department of Health at any time.  It is important to understand that you only have a certain period of time to revoke this acknowledgement.

    Paternity vs Custody

    It is important to note that paternity and custody are two different things.  If you want the courts to establish parental responsibility and time-sharing that request would have to be made.  It is common practice though that you do this at the same time you petition the courts to establish paternity.

    Contact an Orlando Paternity/Custody Lawyer

    To establish and enforce ones parental rights is an important issue and it is important that you do it correct the first time.  We would recommend you seek help for a Orlando Paternity/Custody Lawyer.  The office of Anderson & Ferrin, Attorneys at Law, P.A. helps clients in Orlando establish their rights. Contact us at (407) 412-7041 for a confidential consultation.