Florida parents may know that when they are expecting a child, there is more to preparation than buying clothes, blankets and toys. Legally, when a child is born, paternity must be established. If the parents are married, the husband is presumed to be the father. If parents are not married and the child is born out of wedlock, paternity must be established another way. 

Recently, a local sheriff was named as the defendant in a paternity suit filed by a Florida woman, pending the birth of her child next year. The woman explains that she was romantically involved with the man, and the pair then conceived a child. The sheriff had allegedly urged the woman to terminate the pregnancy, but she refused. 

The plaintiff states that the man is now refusing to take any responsibility for the child. She is asking a court to prepare to establish paternity and award her full custody of the child. She also intends to pursue a child support order when the child is born next year. 

If a parent needs help with an issue regarding paternity, he or she may not know where to begin. It is often helpful to contact an experienced attorney. An attorney may be able to help a client understand the legal process ahead, and stand by one’s side as he or she presents the case to a court. Establishing paternity is an important step toward ensuring that a growing child has his or her needs met by both parents. Once paternity is established, a court can issue orders regarding custody and child support. 

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