Paternity Actions | Clearwater, FL

One of attorney Kinnear K. Smith’s practice areas is marital and family law. With experience and high performance, her law firm carries several prestigious badges, including America’s Most Honored Professionals 2012. Attorney Kinnear K. Smith handles paternity actions. A paternity action is a legal proceeding that officially deems the father to be the parent of a minor child. Paternity actions are filed for a number of reasons, including a father seeking visitation or custody, a mother seeking child support, the child seeking to establish a parental relationship or the state looking for reimbursement of public assistance.

The Process of Paternity Actions

A paternity action starts by filing of a complaint or lawsuit. The petition identifies why the person believes that the specific man if the biological father of a child. After the suit is filed, the alleged fathers has a specific period of time to file a written response to the complaint. Basically, there are three options. The first is to agree to the allegations. The second is to deny or contest the allegations of parenthood. The third option is to respond that it is possible you are the father and request a DNA test for confirmation. When it doubt of parentage, it’s wise to contest the allegations. Once you accept the allegations, the court will deem you the father. Even if DNA tests later confirm that you are not the biological father, most courts never reverse paternity findings. It is the court’s contention that this approach is in the best interests of the child.

Contesting Paternity

Contesting Paternity

If you contest paternity, the court will require you to take a DNA test. Keep in mind that paternity testing is 99 percent accurate. If the DNA test confirms that you are the father, the court will order child support following the state’s guidelines. Child support is based on a formula including the child’s needs and the income of the parents. The court will also set for an order for child visitation and child custody. Once the parental relation is official, your child also has access to inheritance rights, father’s health insurance and social security benefits if the dad is disabled. Basically, once a paternal relationship is official, both child and father have the same obligations and rights as any other parent child relationship.

If you’re considering filing a paternity suit, turn to attorney Kinnear K. Smith. She has experience with paternity actions and can help render legal advice and assistance.