Father Paternity Rights in Orlando
As a new dad, knowing your legal responsibilities is critical. For teenaged fathers especially, it is important to be aware of how these obligations can affect your future. Our quick explanation of DNA testing, custody rights, and child support provides a guide for handling legal proceedings and ensuring you receive the rights you are entitled to as a dad.
Tip #1: Get a Paternity Test First
It is important to complete a DNA test to confirm your paternity before stating your fatherhood in the form of any legal documents. A DNA test lets you know, with certainty, if you are the father — with just a swab from the inside of your baby’s cheek. Prices for DNA testing start under $100, but vary among different providers. Depending on the test you use, results can come back in as little as two weeks.
Tip #2: Custody is Your Right as a Parent
Navigating a custody agreement due to divorce or speration is difficult. Factors such as your status as an unmarried minor only adds complication.
Remember: You are equally entitled to custody rights as is the mother of your baby.
You may feel overwhelmed by the input of other family members in relation to custody. Nobody other than you and your baby’s mother have parental rights unless identified in your custody agreement. This is true even if you are under the age of 18.
Tip #3: You Can Owe Child Support Even if Your Baby Receives Government Benefits
Often, a case will be opened by one parent to ensure the other parent is providing financial aid, but this is not the only way child support can be requested from you. If the mother of your child receives government assistance (unemployment, Food Stamps, Welfare, Medicaid, and a number of other benefit programs), you will be faced with a child support case. This is true whether the mother has opened the case or not, and living with her has no effect on your case. If your baby receives government benefits, you will be involved in legal proceedings concerning child support.
The amount you owe in child support can begin on the child’s birth date. So, even if your baby is six months old on the date your case begins, you will be responsible for paying six months of child support as well as the following payments. Child support debt can affect your ability to borrow money in the future.
So Where Do I Start?
The assistance of a lawyer can help you plan for the operations involved in parental law and family-focused decision making. Knowledge and preparation can not only alleviate stress, but may be able to minimize additional financial and legal burden.
We understand partaking in custody disputes and child support cases can be intimidating. At the Alers Law Firm, our attorneys are your resource for managing complicated family law processes. Equip yourself with the confidence of our experienced legal team.
Know your rights. If you have any questions, please contact us online or call (407) 988-0992 for a free consultation.