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Child Visitation, Legitimation and Paternity

When married couples who have children together go through a dissolution of marriage proceeding they have many issues to consider, and there are legalities involved. This is why it is always advisable to retain the services of an experienced Tampa divorce lawyer to guide you through the process. However, in spite of the legal intricacies that surround a divorce proceeding, the one thing that is not complicated at all for married couples is the matter of paternity.

The parentage of the father of a child that is born within the bonds of matrimony is assumed by the state, and the rights and responsibilities of the father as a parent are considered to be inherent. So if a divorce was to take place at some point, the father would be entitled to share in the parental responsibilities and pay child support if he was not the primary physical custodian of the child.

It is not as cut and dried when a child is born out of wedlock, but when both of the parties are in agreement about the parentage it is relatively simple to establish the paternity of the father. One way that this can be done is through the process of legitimation, which is when the father and the mother of a child who is born out of wedlock get married.

This does not automatically make the husband the father of the woman’s child or children, because she could have married someone other than the father. So, the couple must update the child’s birth record though the Florida Office of Vital Statistics after they get married to assert the paternity of the father.

Short of getting married, a couple who have a child out of wedlock in the state of Florida can establish the paternity of the father by executing Acknowledgment of Paternity form DH-511. This can be done right at the hospital or birthing center and they will then forward the document to the Florida Office of Vital Statistics for filing.

In cases when the parties do not agree about parentage of the father, DNA testing will be used as the final determinant. Once the paternity of the father is established he will be entitled to visitation and subject to a child support obligation.

For legal information about child visitation, legitimation, and paternity, contact an experienced Tampa FL divorce lawyer.

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