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Our readers in Florida have probably heard of the legal process of “establishing paternity.” Through this process, the father of a child is determined, legally speaking. But why does paternity need to be established?

Well, for starters, not every child who is born in Florida is born to a married couple. When a child is born to a married couple, the paternity of the child is presumed to be established with the husband. However, many children are born to unwed parents. When this happens, there may be a legal question as to who, exactly, the father of the child is.

Paternity needs to be established for a variety of reasons. First, for the father, establishing paternity allows the father to have the legal right to a relationship with the child going forward. In many cases in which it is the father who is working to establish paternity, this is the main goal. While the purported father might actually voluntarily acknowledge that he is the father of the child, getting DNA testing to prove that fact may be necessary in certain cases.

However, many paternity cases are initiated by the mother of the child who wants to establish paternity so that the father of the child can be legally ordered to pay child support. Child support is an important financial resource for many parents in Florida, especially unwed parents. By establishing paternity and getting a court order to establish child support, the child in question can receive the support of both parents.