Paternity

Paternity Testing & Family Law Attorney Fort Lauderdale

In Florida, the child support obligations of unmarried parents are substantially the same as those for divorcing spouses. In cases where it’s unclear who the child’s father is, or where a man denies that he’s the father of the child, it’s necessary to establish paternity through testing. For more information about establishing paternity in Florida, contact The Law Offices of Peggy Cruz-Townsend, P.A., in Fort Lauderdale.

I represent single mothers who need help with proving the paternity of an unmarried father so that she can collect child support. Proof of paternity is normally established through DNA testing, and when a man is served with a paternity summons, he is required to provide the tissue samples necessary to determine the identity of the child’s father. Failure to do so can be punished as contempt of court.

Once paternity is established, the father’s child support payments are set under the Florida Child Support Guidelines just as they are in divorce cases, with one important exception. In a divorce case, the amount of a child support obligation is adjusted to account for the time the child spends with the parent who does not have primary physical custody. Child support payments in Florida paternity cases are established under the assumption that the father spends no time with the child, so that whatever payment the Guidelines indicate prior to adjustment for parenting time is the payment that the court will normally order. I also help mothers enforce their rights to collect child support, including back child support payments.

I also represent unmarried fathers whose paternity has been established through testing or admission, but who want to secure and protect their access to their children. We can accomplish this through a petition for child custody or time-sharing, and the court order granting your petition will recognize your rights as a parent. You will not have to depend upon the mother’s good will or mood to see your child and have an equal voice in important decisions concerning his or her medical treatment, education, or religious training. To the extent that your child spends overnights at your home on a regular basis under the terms of the custody order, you may also be able to obtain a reduced child support payment amount.

For more information about my ability to represent the interests of unmarried mothers and single fathers in paternity cases, contact me in Fort Lauderdale.

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