Signing Your Child’s Birth Certificate May Not Establish Your PaternityBy DADvocacy™ | March 6, 2015
If you were married to your child’s mother when the child was born, then yes, you are the legal father. If your child’s mother was married to another man when the child was born, then that man is the legal father. If no one was married to the child’s mother, then the child has no legal father until one is established by a court. Keep reading.
You’re thinking, “But wait, I signed the birth certificate! That makes me the father!” Wrong. In Florida, a voluntary acknowledgment of paternity signed by both parties is a rebuttable presumption of paternity that can be rescinded within 60 days. This means that if you and the mother agreed that you’re the father, you’ve taken a step in the right direction (provided that you are actually the father, but that’s a conversation for another day)! This also means that if you signed the birth certificate, but find out within 60 days that you are not the father, you can send in a revocation letter to the Florida Department of Vital Statistics.
There is more work to be done. You must file a paternity case with the court requesting to have your paternity established and to have a court-ordered timesharing (visitation) schedule implemented. Until then, you have no right to see your child if the mother does not allow you to do so. She may be playing dirty, but she has the upper hand until you take action
When you and your child’s mother ended your relationship, there’s a decent chance she will file a case to establish a child support obligation. The child support court can establish your paternity. It cannot order timesharing. If a judgment of paternity only addresses child support with no parenting plan, then the person receiving support has all of the timesharing and sole parental responsibility.
Take action now to protect your rights as a father and your child’s right to have a loving relationship with you. To schedule a consultation with one of our experienced child custody lawyers in Miami please contact us at (305) 371-7640.