Paternity allows a man to get legal rights to his child. If you have had a baby with someone who is not your spouse, you will need to take steps to prove you are the father.
According to the Florida Department of Revenue, there are several ways by which you can claim your legal rights to your child through establishing paternity.
Use the courts
If you want to establish paternity and the mother does not agree with you, then you will have to go through court to get a genetic testing order first. Upon testing and receiving a positive test, the judge will then rule in your favor and create a paternity order.
Complete voluntary agreement
If you and the mother both acknowledge you are the father, you can complete a voluntary form to confirm paternity. You can do this at any time, including at the hospital after the birth. The agreement requires your signature and the mother’s signature to become valid.
Marry the mother later
If you marry the mother of your child at any time before your child turns 18 and you do not have an existing paternity order, then you will automatically become the father. You will have to change the birth certificate to add your name, though.
Go through child support
If the mother receives a child support order, the state will require proof of paternity. You will have a genetic test to prove you are the father.
It is important to remember that the only way to have automatic paternal rights is if the mother is your wife. Otherwise, you must go through the legal process to establish them.