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too late to establish paternity

Is it Too Late to Establish Paternity?

In today’s world, there are many types of relationships and dynamics involved; as a result, it’s often beneficial to establish paternity. Although this is typically done when your baby is born, there are other ways to accomplish this after the baby’s birth.

Why Establish Paternity?

As the father of the baby, confirmation of paternity and legitimization ensures that you’ll be able to remain informed regarding the child’s whereabouts and you’ll continue to have a say in his or her education and well-being, among many other benefits. As the child’s mother, establishing paternity gives you the ability to request child support and medical benefits from the father. For more reasons why, please read our blog entitled Five Reasons to Establish Paternity.

Four Ways to Establish Paternity

Establishing paternity is an option as long as your child is under 18 years old. Here are four ways you can pursue confirmation of paternity.

  1. Sign a Paternity Acknowledgement form in the hospital. This is the quickest and easiest way to establish paternity if you aren’t married. Signing this form makes the man who signs it the legal father of the child as soon as the form is completed. As long as the baby’s mother isn’t married to someone else at the time of signing, this is an option.
  2. Request an Affirmation of Common Children form or provide a written statement under oath when applying for a marriage license. If the biological parents of the child decide to pursue marriage after the birth of the child, paternity is able to be established by petitioning the Clerk of Court.
  3. Sign an Acknowledgement of Paternity form in the presence of two witnesses or a notary. This is an option even if the biological parents of the child do not wish to marry, and can be done any time before the child reaches 18 years of age. If the mother of the child was married at the time of the child’s birth, however, this is not an option.
  4. Pursue paternity confirmation through the Child Support Program or by presenting the matter to a judge in court. Genetic testing may be required in both of these cases. If the alleged father is willing to provide genetic samples, there may not be a need to pursue a paternity acknowledgement in court, and the Child Support Program may be a good option.

The process for establishing paternity varies state-to-state, so contact a local family law attorney for options specific to your location and situation. In Florida, call us so we can guide you through the process of establishing paternity for your children. 727-584-8182