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Unmarried parents must establish paternity to get child support

Many people in Florida have children with someone outside of marriage. If you list yourself among them and wish to collect child support from the person who fathered your child, you must establish your child’s paternity in order to do so.

Per the Florida Department of Revenue, establishing your child’s paternity leads to numerous benefits, not only for you and the other parent but for your child, himself or herself. There are several ways in which to establish legal paternity in the state.

How to establish paternity

If there is no disagreement over your child’s parentage, then the easiest way to establish paternity outside of marriage is for you both to agree at the hospital, when your child comes into the world. If you do not establish paternity at the hospital, you may do so at any point before your child turns 18. You have the option of doing so by legitimization or acknowledgment if you both agree about parentage. Otherwise, you may need to get a court order and genetic tests to do so.

Why it pays to establish paternity

Once you establish legal paternity, you have the option of collecting child support from your child’s father. However, knowing who his or her father is also helps your child by giving him or her important information about medical background, family history and so on. Establishing paternity also helps your child gain access to important benefits, such as veteran’s benefits.

While establishing paternity has legal benefits, it also helps your child in the emotional sense by giving him or her a deeper sense of identity.