Why Should Fathers Pursue Paternity Actions?
Many Seminole County single fathers file paternity actions because of the future benefits. For example, under Florida law, legal parents are usually the only people who can become a child’s residential custodian. So, if such a move is on your radar, a paternity action is a necessary first step. Other fathers file paternity actions so doctors have access to a child’s complete medical records for family history purposes.
However, as outlined below, there are a number of current benefits as well. The best part may be that these benefits are relatively immediate. In most cases, Maitland fathers’ rights lawyers do not have to go to court. Handled properly, paternity is usually a straightforward matter.
Credit for Support Payments
Since Florida is an income share state, legal child support amounts are difficult to assess. A number of different factors go into this calculation. Nevertheless, most single fathers pay at least some financial support. Many also go above and beyond. For example, they may help the mother pay the birth bill.
Legally, obligors usually get no credit for these informal payments. Moreover, it is relatively easy for the mother to claim she never got the money. Then, the father must produce bank statements or other records to show the payments were made.
A paternity order eliminates these issues. Support and other payments go through a state-affiliated financial payment portal, and the state then disburses the funds to the mother. There is never any question as to how much was paid and how much is owed.
Consistent Visitation Schedule
Informal parenting arrangements are not just financially unstable. There is some emotional instability as well. At any time, the mother may unilaterally alter the current visitation schedule. Moreover, the mother and child may relocate without any notice to the father. Additionally, in some cases, the mother may be able to put the child up for adoption without any notice to the father.
Now is a good time to point out that only a legal paternity action establishes legal paternity. If your name is on the birth certificate, it is easier to establish paternity. However, by itself, a signature means nothing.
Once the judge approves a written modification plan, only the judge may change it. Parents who violate timesharing agreements may face stiff legal consequences. In other words, the advantage shifts to fathers.
One final note on this point. Florida family laws have recently changed. The old custodial and non-custodial parent designations are gone, for the most part. Today, Florida laws encourage co-parenting. That change in the legal environment favors fathers.
Emotional Bond with Your Child
Very few civil actions have both legal and emotional effects. Paternity is one of the rare exceptions.
The guaranteed visitation time helps fathers form stronger relationships with their children. Additionally, children know who their fathers are. Moreover, these children know their fathers are interested in their present lives as well as their future lives. If paternity actions had no other benefits, this reason alone would probably be enough to partner with an attorney.
Generally, once a lawyer files a petition, the mother agrees straightaway. If the mother disputes paternity, a simple and non-invasive DNA swab test typically resolves the question.
Contact an Assertive Lawyer
There are many reasons for fathers to pursue paternity actions. For a confidential consultation with an experienced family law attorney in Maitland, contact The Troum Law Firm, P.A. We routinely handle matters in Seminole County and nearby jurisdictions.