Establish Legal Paternity Early If You Are Not Married to the Child’s Mother at the Time of the Child’s Birth
In Florida, there is more than one way to be a father. DNA testing is not the beginning and end of the story, and neither is marriage. Every man who has established legal paternity of his child by filing a voluntary declaration of paternity has a unique story, but they all have one thing in common: the law recognizes them as the legal fathers of their children. This means that, even if their relationship with the mother ends, the father still has the right to parenting time with the children; he is also required to pay child support for the children until they become adults. In other words, if your ex-girlfriend marries her new boyfriend when your child is an infant, and the new man establishes paternity or legally adopts the child, the law will recognize him as the child’s father forever, even if the child has your DNA, and even if the new man later divorces your ex. If you have an off-again, on-again relationship with your child’s mother, a South Florida family law attorney can help you establish legal paternity sooner rather than later.
What Happens If Your Child’s Mother Divorces You and Marries the Child’s Biological Father?
In February 2010, when Cole Fahey found out that his girlfriend Melissa was pregnant, they got married almost immediately, and Melissa gave birth in September of that year. Cole and Melissa separated in June 2011 and moved from Florida to Georgia with the baby, who was then nine months old. When she arrived in Georgia, her ex-boyfriend John Pearce took a DNA test that showed that he was the biological father of Melissa’s child born during her marriage to Cole. Cole filed for divorce in September 2011. Because he was married to Melissa when the child was born, though, Cole was still the legal father. Therefore, before their divorce became final, the parties entered a stipulation that Cole was not the child’s biological father and was not to have any legal rights or responsibilities regarding the child. The stipulation, which the court incorporated into its final judgment of divorce, issued in March 2012, stated that Melissa’s ex-boyfriend John Pearce was the child’s biological father.
After Melissa and Cole divorced, John filed a petition in Georgia to establish legal paternity. The petition was still pending when Melissa and Cole married each other for a second time in December 2012. What ensued then was a legal labyrinth involving whether the courts in Florida and Georgia were required to abide by each other’s decisions regarding which man, if either, had the right to raise the child. The moral of the story is that a child can have more than one dad, but changing one’s mind about legal paternity is not a decision to be taken lightly.
Reach Out to Us Today for Help
If you and your ex have had many disagreements over the years about your relationship and about co-parenting, a Boca Raton divorce attorney can help you. Contact Schwartz | White for help today.