A paternity action lays out, in detail, all the rights of each parent, as well as their responsibilities toward their child/children. At Wagstaff & Pitelis, we have been assisting Tampa Bay parents with paternity issues for more than a decade. We strive to create a warm, inviting office atmosphere to provide you with a safe place during these difficult times. We want you to feel at home with us.
What is Paternity Action?
Paternity action aims to officially declare a man as the father of a minor. Florida Statutes section 742.011 permits “any woman who is pregnant or has a child, any man who has reason to believe that he is the father of a child, or any child to bring a case to circuit court to determine the paternity of the child when the paternity has not been established by law or otherwise.” Even if he is listed on the birth certificate, a birth father does not automatically have rights concerning custody, visitation, or child support. A man other than the biological father can also be legally designated as a parent.
What Does Paternity Action Establish?
At the successful completion of this legal proceeding, one may be able to:
- Authorize parentage
- Establish child support obligation (including medical insurance coverage as well as division of unreimbursed health care costs)
- Establish parental responsibility
- Create a parenting plan/time-sharing schedule (throughout the year and for holidays)
- Divide extracurricular expenses and the child dependency tax exemption
- Change the child’s name when parentage is established
A paternity action can be complex and is often very fact-specific. With our help, you can be confident that legally sound arrangements are made in the best interest of all involved.
Parenting Plans & Time-Sharing Agreements
When a paternity action is filed, parents move forward with our careful, attentive assistance to set up child support, custody, visitation, and parenting plans. Parenting plans (which include a time-sharing arrangement) can consist of a variety of aspects, including but not limited to:
- Rules about the child’s medical issues
- What kind of education they will receive
- What religion they will practice
An example of a parenting plan used in the state of Florida can be viewed by clicking here.
Our primary goal is to protect your family and make the process as smooth and painless as possible. We know these situations can be tough, and we are here to give you not only legal but emotional support. Your success is our success.
Wagstaff & Pitelis is Here for You
If you are looking to establish paternity or are seeking child support or custody, navigating the system without professional legal representation can be difficult. Because these proceedings have such a significant and lasting effect on your family's life, don’t delay in hiring experienced, caring lawyers.
At Wagstaff & Pitelis, we have made it our goal to help families through difficult times.
To see how we can help you, call us today at 727-584-8182 to schedule a meeting.