Establishing paternity is incredibly important for an unmarried father because until you do so, you have no legal rights to your child. If you and the mother are married, then paternity is automatically established by the marriage. so your rights to the child exist pending a party disestablishing paternity. That means that if the mother chooses to not allow visitation for you and the child or moves away, there is nothing you can do until paternity is established. The process of establishing paternity is necessary in order for fathers to be able to exert their legal rights to their child..
The Florida Department of Revenue provides that if you need to establish paternity, you have a few options for doing so, depending on your situation.
Mother is married
If the mother of your child is married to someone else, then your only option to establish paternity is through a court order. The child already has a father in the eyes of the law due to the mother being married. So, you will need to prove you are the father in order to gain your rights to child as you will also be attempting to take away the rights to the child from the get from the mother’s husband. This will require genetic testing, and court proceedings.
Mother is agreeable
If the mother is not married and agrees that you are the father, she can sign a voluntary notice at the hospital when the baby is born. You will also need to sign the notice. The hospital will make sure it is filed with the proper authority.
Mother and you marry later
If you later marry the mother of your child after the birth, then you can establish paternity when you apply for your marriage license. You also still have the option of the voluntary acknowledgment that you will both need to sign and file.