Six important tips to consider in your Sarasota paternity case:
1. Talk to a Sarasota paternity lawyer about the facts of your case. It is always less expensive to start a case out correctly, than to correct problems after the fact.
2. A number of Sarasota paternity cases are initiated by the State of Florida through the Department of Revenue. If you are in need of child support, the state will initiate a Parentage case on behalf of your child, and will request child support from the other parent.
3. The Court can order payment of back child support and expenses in your Sarasota paternity case. If you are not residing with your child, but are providing some financial support and care, it may be to your benefit to judicially establish child support and a Parenting Plan, sooner rather than later. Here’s why: You can cap your future exposure to back child support and expenses; and you can insure that you have access to your child, if the relationship with the other parent deteriorates in the future.
4. The Department of Revenue will not litigate custody, so if the state has started a parentage case to collect child support, it will be up to you to request the entry of a Parenting Plan at the same time.
5. In some instances genetics are not the only factor the court will consider in determining parentage. However, these cases tend to be very complicated. If you feel that you are being wrongfully excluded as a parent, or if you feel a person who has always acted as a parent is now trying to avoid parental responsibility, you should review your facts with a Sarasota paternity lawyer.
6. If the Department of Revenue is demanding that you pay child support, it may seem as if the state is representing the other parent. In theory the state represents the interests of the child – but in may not seem that way from your perspective. To make sure your voice is herd, consider consulting with a Sarasota paternity attorney.
The family court can enter a decree that does the following in your Sarasota paternity case:
1. Establish or confirm the father of the child. If the child has a presumed or acknowledged father, and there is no basis for challenging the father’s status, then the father’s parentage has likely been non-judicially established. Under these circumstances, the case will likely concern child support and custody (Parenting Plan). If there is a basis for challenging the father’s status as the child’s parent, or it is not clear who is the father, the court may order genetic testing, and then judicially establish paternity.
2. Amend the child’s birth certificate.
3. Order child support.
4. Order back child support, and the division of the mother’s pregnancy and child birth costs.
5. Order the payment of court costs for items like attorney’s fees, genetics testing, and expert’s fees.
6. If requested by one of the parents, enter a Parenting Plan (In Florida a Parenting Plan is a custody order). The factors used by the court to establish the Parenting Plan, are the same factors used for divorcing parents. (If entered at the same time as the order establishing parentage).
For more details regarding the law governing your Sarasota paternity case, I have provided a link to the statute: