If you are a man in Florida who wants to make sure that you are legally recognized as the father of your biological child, there are a few ways that you might achieve this. Having this legal recognition is important for a variety of reasons including ensuring that you enjoy as much time with your child as possible and that is reasonable if you do not live with your child's mother. Even if you do live with your child's mother, you can benefit from having legal paternity established.
As explained by the Florida Department of Revenue, there are typically three avenues to establishing paternity. One of these is via court order, one is referred to as acknowledgement or legitimization and the third is at birth in a hospital. If a court order is to be used, you will need to undergo genetic testing to confirm that you are the father of your child.
Acknowledgement involves confirmation of your paternity by you and your child's mother to whom you are not married. Legitimization can happen if you and your child's mother get married after the child is born but before they are 18. While in the hospital, you and the mother can both attest to your paternity. If you are married at the time of the birth, paternity is automatic.
If you would like to learn more about the ways in which a man can ensure his full parental rights including establishing himself as a child's legal father, please feel free to visit the father and child relationship page of our Florida family law website.