What is Paternity and Why is it Established?

Paternity is legally establishing who the father of a specific child is, and it can be determined by a number of ways. In Jacksonville, Florida when a married woman gives birth the assumption is by law, that the husband is the legal father of the child unless this is disputed in court filings.

If there is no marital relationship then the paternity of the child is established either voluntarily or through a court order, often using blood and DNA testing to determine this fact. A child has a right to have a relationship with both parents and to know who their father is under Florida law.

Paternity - Jacksonville, FL

Fathers Have Paternity Rights Under Florida Law!

As the father of a child, a man has paternity rights and obligations and has a say in any decisions regarding the placement of a child, custody, adoption, child support, and other matters relating to their minor child. Any man who believes he may be the father of a child should seek paternity testing if there is any doubt as to the identity of the father.

The Pros and Cons of Establishing Paternity

Your child deserves to know both their mother and father, whether the parents were married and then got divorced or they were never married in the first place. Establishing paternity has both pros and cons, and is something that you should consider carefully. A family law lawyer can help advise you on whether this is the right step to take in your situation.


  • A child may become eligible for certain benefits as a dependent if the father of the child dies or becomes disabled before the child reaches adulthood.
  • Inheritance laws may only recognize children whose paternity has been acknowledged.
  • Establishing paternity allows a child to know their full health, medical, and genealogical history.
  • Both parents can have input on how a child is raised, and the child has a relationship with both parents.
  • Financial benefits including child support


  • If domestic violence has been an issue then establishing paternity could expose you to further violence and harassment. The family law judge can consider restraining orders in cases of domestic violence and abuse.
  • If you are determined to be the father of the child you may be responsible for child support, health insurance, medical costs, shared custody, and other responsibilities.
  • Co-parenting may be difficult or even impossible if your relationship with the other parent is not civil. Once paternity is established you will have to deal with the other parent until your child becomes an adult.

Sacks and Sacks Family Law has helped many mothers and fathers in Jacksonville, Florida with their paternity and family law needs, and we can help you with yours. Call us today at (904) 396-5557 for a free consultation, and see how we can help with your paternity case.


“Paternity in Florida.” Accessed 9 August 2020.

Nico Apfelbaum, “Florida Paternity Law: Knowing Your Rights.”  Accessed 9 August 2020.

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1646 Emerson St. Suite B Jacksonville, FL 32207

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