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Paternity identifies the legal father of the child and establishes rights of both parents and the child. Paternity gives both parents the right to seek court orders for parental responsibility, time-sharing and child support.


Paternity is automatically established when parents are married at the time the child is born; however, unmarried parents will have to establish paternity of the child. Unmarried parents can establish paternity through a voluntary acknowledgement of paternity, or  through a court order. Until paternity is established, the mother of the child is the natural guardian of the child and is entitled to primary residential care and custody.

In order for a father to have a right to notice and consent regarding the adoption of a child, the unmarried biological father must file a notarized claim of paternity form with the Florida Putative Father Registry which includes confirmation of his willingness and intent to support the child for whom paternity is claimed.