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Florida Courts Discuss Final Judgments in Paternity Matters

When it is not clear who the father of a child is, both the child’s mother and any potential father have the right to file a paternity action. A determination of paternity not only opens the door for the father to seek parental rights like custody of the child, but it also allows the court to impose obligations on the father, like the duty to pay child support. If a court’s judgment of paternity fails to include necessary information, though, it may be reversed, as shown in a recent Florida ruling set forth in a paternity case. If you have questions regarding establishing parental rights or enforcing parental obligations, it is advisable to meet with an experienced Florida paternity lawyer to evaluate your options.

The History of the Case

It is reported that the mother instituted a paternity action to establish the identity of the father of her child. The court ultimately issued a final judgment of paternity, naming the father. The mother appealed, citing four issues. The appellate court affirmed the trial court’s ruling as to two of the issues without comment. As to the remaining two issues, however, the court found in favor of the mother. As such, it reversed the final judgment and remanded the matter to the trial court for further proceedings.

Final Judgments in Paternity Matters

The two issues the appellate court addressed on appeal were whether the trial court erred in neglecting to include a parenting plan in the record and failing to attach the child support guidelines worksheet to the final order. The court noted that the father conceded that these documents were forgotten due to a scrivener’s error. The appellate court explained that, pursuant to Florida law, it must reverse an order granted child support if the child support guidelines worksheet is not attached to the final judgment.

Similarly, courts are obligated to reverse final judgments that lack a parenting plan. In the subject case, although there was no transcript of the trial court proceedings, both errors were evidence on the face of the record. Accordingly, the appellate court reversed the final judgment and remanded the matter for the trial court to supplement the record with a parenting plan and attach the child support guidelines worksheet to the final judgment.

Discuss Your Case with a Knowledgeable Miami Attorney

Determining paternity can benefit the child involved and both parents, but it is essential that final judgments issued in paternity matters include the information needed to allow all parties to fully exercise their rights. If you want to determine the paternity of a child, it is in your best interest to retain the assistance of an attorney to avoid inadvertently waiving your rights. The knowledgeable Miami family law attorneys of the Law Offices of Sandy T. Fox, P.A., are adept at handling a variety of family law issues, including paternity disputes, and if you hire us, we will work diligently to help you seek the best legal result available under the facts of your case. We have an office in Aventura, and we regularly represent people in family law matters in Miami. You can contact us via our form online or at 800-596-0579 to set up a conference.

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