Florida residents who want to be a part of their child's lives could do so by establishing paternity. What this does is establish that a man is a child's legal parent. In addition to the benefits a parent can gain by taking this step, the child can also benefit as well. The child both knows and can be supported by his or her father, and he or she can learn more about that person's history.
Financial support could come in the form of child support payments or by giving the child the right to inherit assets from the parent. Paternity can be established either voluntarily or by compelling an alleged father to submit to genetic testing along with the mother and child. If a man does not submit to genetic testing, he may be named the father anyway. The same is true if testing determines a person to be the father and he does not contest the results within 60 days.
Those who choose to voluntarily acknowledge paternity can do so at the hospital when the child is born. Fathers also have the ability to acknowledge paternity at any point before the child turns 18. Fathers may be placed on the birth certificate even if the acknowledgment comes after the birth.
The parents of a child generally have a legal obligation to provide for their children whether or not they live together or are married. Typically, child support is designed to help a custodial parent take care of a child's needs such as feeding and clothing a son or daughter. Spousal support may also help a parent pay bills and maintain a standard of living. However, these payments are generally for the benefit of the parent and not meant to be a substitute for child support.