Law Offices Of Andrew Merlo, P.A.


(561) 893-9993

Law Offices Of Andrew Merlo, P.A.

Family Law FAQs

A paternity case typically occurs when a child is born and the parents of that child are not married. If a child is born to a mother who is married, the court system deems the husband of the mother to be the father. If the married woman has a child with a partner who is not her husband, there are steps that must be taken to change that presumption. If an unmarried couple needs to make an arrangement for time sharing and decision making powers for their child, they file a paternity suit. Sometimes, this might include getting the father of the child added to important documentation as well, such as the child’s birth certificate.
The filing of an initial petition grants the father of the child equal parental rights with the mother of the child. This is the first step in most paternity cases. Signing a birth certificate is not necessary enough to ensure that you as a father have all of the rights that are due to you. Your attorney can help you to take appropriate action to make sure that you obtain rights to your child.
Once it has been acknowledged that a parent has rights, issues such as a parenting plan, time sharing, child support, health insurance, major life decisions, and other details are then formalized. Your attorney will help you get the most out of your agreement. It is always best to be protected and have someone who is fighting to make sure that you achieve your goals in reaching an agreement that is best for you and your child.
Not necessarily. If both the mother and father agree on paternity, then genetic testing is not necessary. If either party does doubt the genetic paternity of the child, then the court will order a DNA test prior to establishing parental rights.
Absolutely! If you have a child then that child has a father and that father is responsible for caring for his child. You can file a petition for paternity and the court will order a DNA test if the father of your child disputes the petition. This will allow you to pursue financial support for your child, even if the father doesn’t want to be involved in the child’s life. Keep in mind however that you cannot just seek child support without the establishment of parental rights. If a father is given rights, he has obligations and rights to see his child unless he voluntarily waives those rights or the courts deem that person to be unfit in some way.
Contact your attorney. In some cases, the courts will disestablish paternity, but it is a more complicated and limited process than establishing paternity. Your attorney is the best person to help you and in the long run will likely be less expensive than supporting a child for a number of years who you are not actually supposed to be supporting.
Contact your attorney immediately. If you want to maintain your parental rights for your child, you need to act right away to establish paternity. If a mother doesn’t acknowledge that you are the father of her child before pursuing adoption placement, then no one else but you knows that you are the father of your child and no one will notify you that an adoption is taking place. Your attorney can file emergency documentation to prevent an adoption in order to establish your rights to your child first if you want to take responsibility for that child.
When you are going through the initial child custody arrangements, it is unlikely that you planned for life’s curveballs that might pop up later. Sometimes a parent needs to relocate for a new job, a promotion, to take care of a sick family member, or an educational opportunity. If you move more than 50 miles away from your child, you will need to modify your current arrangement to accommodate your move. Your attorney will protect your rights as a parent. Nothing is more important to a parent than their child. It’s not a situation that you want to risk by going it alone. You need someone on your team to help you get what you need.
That’s okay too! If you and the other parent of your children have already dictated a certain geographical area within your original agreement, then you likely don’t need to modify your agreement if you plan to live within that area. If the other parent is refusing to cooperate with the move and wants to adjust your visitation or time-sharing responsibilities, you should consult with your attorney about your options.
You can always make an effort to make new arrangements on your own. When you decide on a new time sharing agreement it is important to file the appropriate documentation with the court system. If the documentation has not been filed, then your agreement may not be enforceable if you have issues down the road. Your attorney can file the appropriate documents for you.
Andrew Merlo, Esq.

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