Skilled And Personalized Family Law Services

Orlando Paternity Lawyer


Establishing Parental Rights and Duties in Florida

Paternity must be established according to Florida law before parenting time, visitation or child support orders can be issued. At Mercedes R. Wechsler, P.A., in Orlando, we represent both fathers and mothers in paternity actions, helping them establish and protect their rights while seeking an outcome that is in the best interests of the children.

The Basics of Florida Paternity Law

In Florida, a child conceived or born during marriage is presumed to be the child of the husband and wife. Therefore, the husband and wife are granted all parental rights and obligations. However, a child born to an unmarried couple is not presumed to be the child of the unmarried man. Therefore, if he wishes to assert parental rights, such as child custody and visitation rights, he will need to take steps to prove he is the father. Similarly, a mother seeking child support from the man will need to prove that the man is indeed the father.

All of this means that the first purpose of a paternity action in Florida is to determine the biological father’s identity. Only when this is established can the court define the father’s rights, the mother’s rights and each of their obligations regarding the child.

Establishing Paternity

If paternity is disputed, by either the father or the mother, a petition can be filed with the court requesting a paternity test. By far, the most accurate method for establishing paternity is blood testing. Florida uses two types:

  • Human Leukocyte Antigen (HLA) test: If this test determines that the man in question has a 95 percent or greater probability of being the father, then he is presumed to be the father. He can rebut that presumption only in limited circumstances.
  • DNA testing: Since a child inherits half of its genetic material from the father, a DNA test easily proves whether a certain man is or is not the father. Practically speaking, DNA tests today are so accurate that they cannot be challenged.

As an experienced Orlando paternity lawyer, Mercedes Wechsler represents men who are seeking to establish paternity in order to gain custody or visitation/time sharing rights, and those wishing to challenge the presumption of paternity. She also represents women seeking to establish paternity in order to secure child support from the father. With 18 years of family law experience, she can clearly explain your legal options and protect your rights and your child’s interests, and help you establish and maintain a relationship with your child, throughout the legal process.

Contact a Windermere Paternity Actions Attorney

To discuss any aspect of paternity law in Florida with an experienced Orlando family law attorney, schedule an initial consultation at Mercedes R. Wechsler, P.A. Call 407-839-1364 or contact our law firm online.