In South Carolina, a county judge revealed the results of a paternity test and subsequently ordered Curtis Gorny to pay child support. However, Gorny’s reaction was not that of a proud new father. Gorny left the courthouse and fired his gun at the child’s mother and her stepfather. Both were taken to local hospitals and are expected to make full recoveries. Gorny was booked into county jail on charges of attempted murder.
For most men, learning they will be a father is a happy occasion. Paternity gives both parents the legal right to time-sharing (custody), child support and input on legal decisions for the child. But oftentimes, establishing legal paternity can be a complicated task. It’s important to follow the legal process so that your parental and time-sharing rights are secured.
Under Florida law, there are several ways to establish paternity:
- If the parents are married to each other when the child is born
- If the unmarried parents sign a legal document establishing paternity
- If a genetic test proves paternity and an administrative order is issued
- If a judge orders paternity in court
- If the mother and biological father marry each other after the child’s birth and update the birth record through the Florida Office of Vital Statistics
It’s important to note that unwed fathers do not automatically have time-sharing rights. A time-sharing agreement is basically a custody order. It is a document that outlines the time a child will spend with each parent, and it includes daily child rearing, overnight visits and holidays. Once paternity is established, a father should seek to obtain time-sharing rights via a court order.
If you need help to establish legal paternity of your child, an experienced family law attorney can make that happen. Further, a zealous legal advocate can petition the court for a time-sharing order that ensures your parenting rights remain intact.