How Can A Good Paternity Lawyer Help You?
Issues with paternity can lead to emotional and traumatic encounters. Therefore, there are many scenarios where paternity issues must be resolved. An attorney is needed in cases where there are legitimate questions regarding the identity of a child’s biological father. Paternity lawyer represents the client during every phase of the legal process. Florida law grants significant rights and responsibilities to parents. Often these rights and responsibilities can only be applied after paternity is determined. A good paternity lawyer will have tried and proven experience in a vast number of situations. He/she will belong to a firm that draws experience from many related fields. There may be lawyers skilled in child support issues, child custody and divorce cases. These experiences can be brought to bear on paternity issues. The end result is a fortification of the family law experience that will strengthen a client’s paternity case.
A good paternity lawyer will be able to explain the law as it applies to determine paternity. The client will come out of the initial consultation on how the law determines paternity. He/she will understand that Florida law assumes that the child of a married couple is biologically and legally their child. When this assumption is challenged, the court may need to step in and initiate a process that will determine paternity. In other cases, paternity becomes an issue when one parent seeks child support, medical issues, health insurance issues, military support, and benefits. Legal experience can make a world of difference here because the lawyer will accumulate the best practices over many years of practice. Each client’s case is unique with special circumstances. A good paternity lawyer will not take a ‘cookie cutter’ approach. Rather, legal knowledge will be applied based on existing facts and established laws. The client’s interests will be protected by all legal means.
Paternity issues are often froth with emotions. A good paternity lawyer is empathetic to these issues. Parents can be very emotional when they think that someone is trying to deny their parental rights or impose parenting responsibilities. A parent (often the father) can become angry and even belligerent when he thinks that child support parent may encumber him for 1 to 18 years. A mother may feel insulted and cheated when a father refuses to accept the child as his own. Other family members may join the dispute and legal action may ensue. The lawyer tries to soothe frayed tempers and console bruised egos. Sometimes, there are even cases of violence against the parties. We see the drama played out on the Jerry Springer Show and Maury Povich Show. These are sordid tales of alleged paternity cases that were orchestrated to entertain. However, paternity issues in real life can mirror fiction. Parents yelling, children crying and family members fighting can make paternity issues quite messy. So a good paternity lawyer must also be a good negotiator and arbitrator. Sometimes issues can be hammered outside of the courtroom. The lawyer can project likely outcomes for feuding parties, caution further legal action and encourage cooperation. However, the lawyer is charged with protecting and promoting his client’s interest and he will do so free from fear or favor.
The lawyer will explain that there are two ways paternity is decided in Florida. Marriage presents the validity of paternity if the child is born in wedlock. Florida courts adjudicate the issue through an Establishment of a Paternity case. The court begins the official proceedings after a parent signs a Petition to Establish Paternity. The lawyer will advise you that the Petitioner must be a resident of the state of Florida for 6 months prior to filing the petition. The petition simply requests that the courts determine paternity. There are also other issues that can be determined simultaneously. These include child support, medical insurance, parental time-sharing, and a court-approved parenting plan. Even though either parent can file a petition, there are cases when the state may also initiate a petition. This may be done when the mother receives state of Florida benefits and the latter seeks to recover payments by asking the alleged father to pay child support. The father may wish to retain the services of a good paternity lawyer in order to protect his interests. The court may decide that a DNA test is necessary to determine paternity. The father can be summoned to provide samples in order to determine paternity. At this point, the court and law enforcement is fully engaged. Issues of paternity may involve the IRS, wage garnishment, suspension of driver license and benefits from other branches of the state of Florida. In this light, it may be a good idea to retain a paternity lawyer because the stakes are high. A good paternity lawyer may be cheaper than repaying benefits to the state or paying future benefits until the child is 18 years old.
There are times when monetary issues are not at stake. Adoption may be a reason to determine paternity. A good lawyer is equally as valuable in such cases. A mother may wish to put a child up for adoption or give the child to a family member. The alleged father may object to any form of adoption (through the state of Florida or with a family member). The father is entitled to have a say in this decision making. A good attorney can help him secure parenting right by filing a petition for paternity. Even when paternity is not decided by the court or marriage the father may have certain rights. The lawyer can file with the Florida Putative Father Registry with the Office of Vital Statistics a claim of fatherhood. This opens a window for the father to be notified if the mother tries to put the child up for adoption. The father once notified can ask the lawyer to take all legal means at his/her disposal to prevent the child from being put up for adoption. These are legal steps and proceedings that should not be conducted by inexperienced citizens. A good lawyer will get you through legal hurdles and protect your finances and fatherhood rights.