Families can come in all shapes in forms. Parents who aren’t married with children must follow different protocols than children from married couples. One of the most important steps is establishing paternity. If both parents agree who the alleged father is, they can sign a voluntary acknowledgment of paternity form.
An acknowledgement of paternity allows the father to assume all parental rights over the child. Basically, the document is a legal agreement with the court that this person is the father. If you are planning to sign a voluntary acknowledgement, you will have to be responsible for your child’s financial and medical support. This can include paying for child support or setting up a time-sharing schedule for custody.
Attorney for Voluntary Acknowledgement in Broward County, Florida
Signing a voluntary acknowledgement of custody is an important step to raising a child. It provides financial protection for them and can allows the parents to share custody of the child. If you or someone you know is interested in drafting a voluntary acknowledgement of paternity, it’s imperative you contact an experienced attorney.
Don’t wait another moment to establish your child’s paternity. Call Nisha E. Bacchus today for quality legal representation. She can assess your situation and assist you with your voluntary acknowledgement form. Ms. Bacchus can also challenge the voluntary acknowledgement if later it’s discovered the man isn’t the biological father.
Call (954) 500-5555 and set up a case consultation. Bacchus Law Firm accepts clients throughout the Broward County area including Hollywood, Fort Lauderdale, and Pembroke Pines.
Overview of Voluntary Acknowledgement in Florida
- What is Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity in Florida?
- What’s the Difference Between Biological and Legal Paternity?
- What if You Learn You Aren’t the Father?
- Additional Resources
What is a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity in Florida?
Parents who have children out of wedlock have alternative methods of establishing paternity. A common way is to sign a voluntary acknowledgement of paternity. The form determines who the biological father of the child is. With that acknowledgement comes all the financial responsibilities that come with being a father such as child support.
To fill out a voluntary acknowledgement form you will need your social security number and other relevant identifying information. It’s important to know that after signing each parent has the right to cancel the document within 60 days. If there is a court hearing regarding the parents and child, then you won’t be able to cancel the form within 60 days. The name of the father will also be placed on the birth certificate of the child.
You can cancel an acknowledgement of paternity, but it’s a difficult process to remove your name from the child’s birth certificate. You can only remove your name from the certificate with a court order from a hearing.
After 60 days, the only way to challenge a legally established paternity is by presenting evidence your signature wasn’t given in good faith. Acknowledgement of paternity forms obtained through fraud, under duress or without complete understanding by both parties would be considered invalid in court.
What’s the Difference Between Biological and Legal Paternity?
In Florida law, there’s a distinction between legal and biological paternity. If the mother is married during the time of the birth, her current husband will be listed as the legal father of the child. Even if it’s understood between both parties that the biological father is another person.
The biological father can still assume responsibility of the child. If both the mother and legal father want to help the biological father gain custody, they can still draft a voluntary acknowledgement form.
The biological father can also file a paternity action asking to become the child’s legal father. It’s important to know the hearing will cover who is best to raise the child. It won’t just surround who the biological father of the child is. The judge can decide it’s in the best interest to keep the child with their original legal father if they deem fit.
What If You Learn You Aren’t the Father?
In some cases, the paternity of the father is invalid. Normally, this is because one or both parents weren’t upfront with each other about who the father is. As the legal father, it would mean you’re paying child support and other costs for a child who isn’t biologically yours.
You can combat this with a Petition to Disestablish Paternity Form with the court. The court will only disestablish paternity if they discover the following:
- Newly discovered evidence about the child’s paternity has been discovered;
- The scientific procedure for determining paternity was done properly;
- You are current on all child support payments or you’ve substantially complied with your child support obligation and any delinquency which happened was because you had a reasonable just cause
- You did not adopt the child;
- The child wasn’t conceived by artificial insemination while you were ordered to pay child support;
- You did not prevent the biological father from asserting his parental rights; and
- The child is under the age of 18 when the petition was filed
If the court agrees with all of the above, then they will disestablish paternity. You will no longer have the financial and medical responsibilities over the child. However, you cannot disestablish paternity if you did any of the following after learning you’re not the biological father.
- Married the mother of the child and voluntarily assumed a parental obligation with a duty to pay child support
- Allowed to be named as the biological father on the birth certificate;
- Promised in writing you would support the child;
- Was given written notice by the state agency or court to submit scientific testing which hasn’t been analyzed yet; or
- Signed a voluntary acknowledgement of paternity;
Being a father is a huge responsibility. For this reason, it’s recommended you’re cautious when signing a voluntary acknowledgement. You will no longer be able to disestablish yourself as a parent if you’ve agreed to a paternity acknowledgement form.
Establishing Paternity – Visit the official website of the Florida Department of Revenue to learn more about how paternity is established in court. Learn the rights of the mother, the child and the biological father if paternity issues come up. You can also learn other ways to establish paternity such as legitimation or with a legal order.
Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity Laws – Visit the official website for Florida’s Legislation to learn more about how paternity is established for children born out of wedlock. Access the statute to learn more about voluntary acknowledgements and other ways to determine who the legal father is.
Lawyer for Voluntary Acknowledgement in Fort Lauderdale, Florida
If you or someone you know has been asked to sign a voluntary acknowledgement form, it’s imperative you hire legal representation. Agreeing to a paternity acknowledgement form is a big decision. You will have to assume over the financial and medical obligations of this child until they’ve reached the age of 18.
Call Bacchus Law Firm to discuss your legal options. Nisha E. Bacchus is a reputable attorney with years of experience in family law. She can determine what the best possible path of action to take for both you and the child. Contact us now at (954) 500-5555 to schedule a consultation.
Bacchus Law Firm accepts clients throughout the greater Fort Lauderdale area including Pompano Beach, Hollywood, and Pembroke Pines.