Court Discusses Final Judgments in Florida Paternity Matters

Both the child’s mother and any prospective father have the option to initiate a paternity case when the parentage of a child is uncertain. A paternity determination not only allows the father to pursue parental rights such as child custody, but it also permits the court to impose duties on the father, such as the obligation to pay child support. If a court’s ruling with regard to paterniy omits crucial material, it may be overturned, however as demonstrated by a recent Florida ruling in a paternity case. If you have questions regarding the paternity of a child, you should consult with a skilled Florida paternity attorney to discuss your options.

Procedural History of the Case

Allegedly, the mother filed a paternity lawsuit to identify the father of her child. The court eventually issued a final paternity decision, naming the father. The mother filed an appeal on numerous grounds. The court affirmed some of the trial court’s decisions without addressing the mother’s arguments, but ruled in the mother’s favor as to her remaining arguments. As such, it reversed the trial court verdict was reversed, and the case was remanded to the trial court for further proceedings.

Final Judgments in Florida Paternity Matters

The appellate court found that the trial court committed an error by failing to include a parenting plan in the record and in neglecting to attach the child support guidelines worksheet to the final decision. As such, the appellate court granted the mother’s appeal, in part. The court noted that the father admitted that the documents in question were not attached due to an oversight on his part. Regardless of whether a child support guideline worksheet is inadvertently or purposely left off of a final judgment, if it is missing, Florida law dictates that the appellate court must overturn the order granting child support.

Additionally, Florida courts must vacate final judgements if they do not include a parenting plan. In the subject case, regardless of the fact that no transcript was made of the trial court proceedings, both mistakes were clear from the evidence of record. Accordingly,  the appellate court vacated the final judgment the trial court issued and remanded the matter back to the trial court, with a directive for the court to attach the worksheet pertaining to the child support guidelines to the final judgment, and to amend the record to include a parenting plan.

Discuss Your Parental Rights with a Seasoned Florida Attorney

Establishing the paternity of a child is a critical step determining issues involving parental rights and obligations, like child custody and child support. If you have questions regarding your parental rights or the paternity of your child, it is prudent to speak to an attorney as soon as possible. The seasoned Florida lawyers of Lusk, Drasites & Tolisano, P.A. can assess the facts of your case and gather the evidence needed to help you in the pursuit of your desired outcome. You can contact us through our form online or by calling 800-283-7442 to set up a confidential consultaiton.





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