Ways to look for a Paternity Lawyer and why I may need one

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The birth of a child is a big milestone in life. Maternity leave is often used amongst mothers, a legal right that allows the mother to receive time off after (and sometimes before) the birth of the child. Some states now allow fathers to request paternity leave when their child is born. California was the first state to allow paternity leave of up to twelve weeks a year. It is important to remember that some parental leave is paid and unpaid. Unpaid typically means that the employer will hold on to your job when caring for the infant. Paid refers to being paid while taking time off for the new addition to your family. Even when paternity leave is available for fathers, only thirty-six percent actually use their time off.

On June 26, 2015, the U.S Supreme Court eradicated all state bans on same-sex marriage. In regards to paternity leave with same-sex marriage, some couples fear discrimination when they start to look at options to start a family. Your lawyer will discuss with same-sex couples that they do not have specific rights exclusively to them. Lawyers are brushing up on laws on gay marriage because LGBT couples are looking at options in adoption, surrogacy, and IVF. Non Birth parents now have the same rights as real birth mothers. Your attorney will also inform you that birth mothers are entitled to maternity leave regardless of their sexual orientation. This is a big win.

There are many ways to find a good paternity attorney. One way is to just search online for Paternity lawyers in your area. Paternity attorneys are abundant in every state, so finding one will not be a problem. If you are located in California and reside in a major city, then a quick search will tell you the search results for top separation lawyers in Los Angeles and other locations nearby. With the help of the internet, you will see the reviews and success rates for your lawyer of your choice. Affordable attorneys in Tampa offer consultations that are readily available especially if you want to discuss your needs or if you have questions about the process. To help narrow down your search, websites offer testimonials from past clients. A common question that is often proposed is “how can a father be eligible for paternity leave”. When being hired by the employer, discussing paternity leave and getting it written into your contract is important. Your lawyer is able to assist you in the fine details. It is required for you to work for the same employer for twenty-six weeks by the end of the fifteenth week before the baby is due.

A paternity attorney will be able to walk you through the process of parental responsibilities, child custody, and paternity tests. The legal system places one party against the other in what can become a very time consuming and expensive process, therefore you will need guidance. There are many different types of reasons for a paternity lawyer. For example, one type of reason for a paternity lawyer is determining who gets sole custody of the children when divorce is on the table. Usually and in most cases, the mother is awarded this responsibility. The judge looks at each parent equally in deciding custody. The mother usually receives custody as the maternal, caring parent,  especially with young infants. Now with the inclusion of same-sex marriages, laws include modern custody standards where the state no longer favors one parent over the other. Fathers usually expect the mother to have sole custody and end up on child support. Fathers can petition to have sole custody of the kids if they want to. A lawyer can help determine the outcomes of who will receive the child. 

When consulting a paternity lawyer, you want to make sure they are within your price range. The best paternity attorneys can cost a lot of money, and after the separation with your spouse, you do not want to be digging yourself out of a trench after the war is over. There are affordable lawyers that are within your price range in the area you reside in, so ask questions about their hourly rate. Look out for the law firms that provide free consultations, it is highly recommended visiting those law firms that wave the first fee. This allows you to ask any needed questions about the process without putting a dent in your wallet. A common question asked is, “who is responsible for establishing paternity”. The mother or father can file a petition to establish paternity with the court. Each state has its own requirements to file. In the state of Florida, you have to reside in the state for at least six months. The topics discussed can be deciding child support, visitation, health and medical insurance, and time-sharing.

There are different factors to determine who receives visitation rights when divorced couples have children. Your paternity lawyer will guide you in the laws of the state that you reside in. The judge will look at the interest of the child first. Parents can decide the hours of visitation and have it approved in court. Some states want the parents to participate in parenting classes to improve their skills for their children. If hours are not picked then the court will decide what days and times work best for the children involved. It is important to remember that the child’s best interest should be considered when making the decision of when and where to meet. It is recommended to pick times that allow bonding moments. It makes it easier to nurture the child when both parents are involved.

When you think of paternity, a DNA test often comes to mind. If both mother and father agree on the paternity of the child then a DNA test may not be requested. If the paternity of the child is questioned then a mandatory test will be issued. If the father finds out he is not the father then the next question to ask the lawyer is whether or not you can disestablish the paternity. In the state of Florida, the answer is maybe. Florida Statute 742.18 explains who qualifies to disestablish paternity, your lawyer can help you file for that. 

Another common question asked is how to establish paternity rights for your child. Signing the birth certificate is not enough. The birth certificate is the presumption that the man is the father. A petition must be filed to establish the rights of the father. In Florida, paternity is established by being married when the child is born and through the court system in an Establishment of Paternity Case.

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