This is the first post in a series which will discuss the handling of Melbourne, Florida family law cases which involve a paternity dispute. I am writing on this topic due to the fact that the lack of a paternity order can lead to several problems between parents. These problems can lead to the parents engaging in “self help” (such as a refusal to return the child or the refusal to allow visitation) which is typically not in the best interests of a child. By understanding how to properly deal with such a situation, parents can save their son or daughter a great deal of grief. The goal of my coming articles is to provide information which will help people to better understand their situation. It is also our goal to provide information which will help people make an informed decision when they are selecting an attorney. If you require assistance then contact my office to speak with a family law lawyer.
I will be discussing several topics over the course of my coming articles. Issues which I will discuss include:
- The need for a paternity order in the state of Florida
- The process of establishing paternity
- How the Court will handle the issues of visitation, child support, etc.
- How the Court handles cases in which a father has not met, or has spent little time with, an older child
These are important topics for parents to understand. First, like other states, Florida does not recognize the rights or obligations of a father unless paternity has been established. This means that a dad will not have a right to visitation, and will not be required to pay child support, until parentage is no longer an issue. Second, there are multiple ways in which parentage can be established. These can include an agreement between the parties or through a legal proceeding. Third, it is important that parents have realistic expectations regarding how the Court typically rules on various issues. Finally, a “reunification plan” will typically be put in place for cases where the father and an older child have had little contact with each other.
One point I cannot stress enough is that parents should contact a family law attorney immediately as opposed to trying to deal with the situation themselves. Parents who engage in self help typically find themselves in a worse position when the time comes to go to Court. As a Melbourne paternity lawyer, I am experienced in handling such matters. Contact my office today to schedule an initial consultation. My office also services clients in the Brevard County cities of Titusville, Cocoa, Palm Bay, Grant, Valkaria, and Rockledge, as well as in the Indian River County areas of Fellsmere, Sebastian, Vero Beach, Indian River Shores, and Orchid.