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What happens if I don't get a paternity test?

These days, families come in all shapes and sizes. No longer is it assumed that a family consists of a mom, dad and a few children. Today, there are same-sex spouses raising adopted children, unmarried parents raising a child together, divorced parents raising children in a co-parenting arrangement and single parents tackling parenting alone.

This diversity in family structures means that truly no two families are the same. However, there are some similar challenges people will face in terms of family law because of the parenting issues that can arise. For example, whether you are married, divorced or unmarried, you may be confronted with the question of whether to take a paternity or not.

In accordance with Florida paternity laws, failure to take or request a paternity test can lead to many different complicated situations.

If you are the mother of your child and do not seek a paternity test from the presumed father, you could be left without a lot of help. If you are not married, there is no legal father automatically named for your child. Because of this, no one can be held legally responsible for paying child support. 

If you are the presumed father of the child but do not take a paternity test, you could be held responsible for a child that may not be yours biologically. You may agree to pay money you don't legally owe and cannot recover, and if the time comes when you want to seek legal or physical custody, you could learn that you have no rights to do so because you are not the legal father. 

After taking all this into consideration, you may decide that taking or requesting a paternity test is in your best interests and those of the child. Discussing your options and legal protections with an attorney can be wise before any decisions are made.