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What does it mean, to establish paternity by court action or operation of law? Isn't paternity established by a paternity test,

Palm Beach, FL |

or a signed agreement by the parties as to whom the father is?

Attorney Answers 1


Not legally, no. Scientifically, biological paternity is established to an almost certainty by testing. However legally it is not so simple. If a woman is married, her husband is the legal father of the child regardless of who the biological father is unless a court disestablishes his paternity and declares someone else the father. So paternity as a consequence of marriage would be by operation of law. In every other instance, paternity must be established by court order. Signing the affidavit that you sign to be on a birth certificate establishes a presumption of paternity, but it does not establish paternity.

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13 lawyers agree




thank you, that clears things up a lot.

Heather Morcroft

Heather Morcroft


You are welcome. It is a very convoluted area of the law, and changing relatively quickly (for the law) because of the changing nature of families.

Heather Morcroft

Heather Morcroft


Also, a child support order if it is just through DOR does not confer full parental rights, only the obligation of child support. If an unmarried father is seeking to establish the paternity of a child he has with an unmarried mother, he needs to file an action for paternity under Fla. Stat. 742

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