Experienced South Florida


Proving paternity: Daddy, father, padre? Are you on this list?

On Behalf of | May 24, 2024 | Children's Issues, Family Law, Fathers' Issues, Paternity

The question of a child’s paternity asks who the child’s biological father is. When the answer is either unknown or not legally established, the matter can end up in Florida state court for resolution in a paternity proceeding. A man who anticipates finding out whether he might be the father of a child may feel overwhelmed. After all, being a parent brings both joy and responsibility – and his life will change forever.

Paternity action basics

A mother could start a paternity proceeding to establish legal fatherhood, which would allow her to seek child support. A man might file a paternity suit to find out if he is a father or to establish his rights as the legal father. Either party may ask the judge to order DNA testing, or the judge may order it without a party request.

If the court finds that the man is the father, he has the rights associated with legal fatherhood, including the right to seek timesharing, decision-making powers and more. He may now oppose any attempt by the mother to seek adoption of the child by a third party or to move away with them. He becomes potentially liable for child support.

The upside of fatherhood

In addition to these rights, fatherhood obviously can have profoundly positive effects on the lives of both the father and their child. It is an irreplaceable, unique relationship with wide-ranging benefit. A father has special opportunities to protect, advise, comfort and provide for their offspring.

In fact, the state of Florida has a public policy that as often as possible and if in the best interests of the child, both parents should be involved in raising them.

Becoming a legal father also confers specific benefits on the child, including potentially those of inheritance, insurance coverage, Social Security and veteran’s benefits through the father, and others. The child has the chance to have relationships with the father’s extended family and to learn family tradition, history and culture. The paternal medical history is available to assist with the child’s health planning. Should spending time with the mother have any negative impact on the child, a father has the right to return to court to seek changes in custody and decision-making powers.

Looking forward

Any Floridian facing questions of paternity should seek the advice of an experienced family lawyer to understand the complex legal issues involved, for guidance in decision making and for representation in any paternity proceeding or other paternity-related matter.


The LAW OFFICES OF FORREST & Forrest, PLLC represents individuals in Fort Lauderdale in high-asset divorce matters. Daniel Forrest is board-certified family lawyer and mediator serving the South Florida area.

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