Florida Paternity Laws
When children are born during a marriage, there is a presumption that the children are the children of the legal father and mother. Section 382.013(2)(a) of the Florida Statutes indicates if the mother is not married at the time of the child’s birth, the name of the putative father may not be entered on the child’s birth certificate unless an affidavit is signed by both the mother and the person to be named the father. An unmarried biological father may file a notarized claim of paternity form with the Florida Putative Father Registry of the Office of Vital Statistics of the Department of Health if he wishes to be notified of any adoption or dependency actions. If an unmarried biological father fails to take action or delays in taking action to establish his legal relationship to his child, his parental interest may be lost or greatly impacted his inaction or delay.
On the other hand, there may be situations where an unmarried pregnant woman or mother may indicate that a man is the biological parent of her child, and the putative father may have reservations about the child’s true paternity. There are some protections for a putative father under section 382.013(2)(a) of the Florida Statutes that indicates if the mother is not married at the time of the child’s birth, the name of the putative father may not be entered on the child’s birth certificate unless an affidavit is signed by both the mother and the person to be named the father. If paternity is disputed our Miami Paternity Attorneys are available to arrange for DNA genetic testing to confirm parentage. If paternity is established by agreement or DNA paternity testing, our Miami Paternity Lawyers are also available to assist in implementing child custody schedules and negotiating or fighting for a fair award of child support.
Mothers should be aware that a delay in instituting a paternity action could result in a loss of child support payments. Section 61.30(17) of the Florida Statutes specifically provides that an initial award of child support will only be retroactive to the date when the parents did not reside in the same household together with retroactivity date not to exceed 24 months prior to the filing of the petition. Our Florida paternity lawyers are available to file your child support complaint and arrange for DNA testing through the Child Support Services (CSS) office.
Florida Paternity Disestablishment Laws
As stated above, paternity can be established when a couple is married and the woman gives birth, by the joint filing of a paternity affidavit, or otherwise. In some situations, the man who has been told he is the biological father of a child and who has accepted the rights and responsibilities of fatherhood really is not the child’s biological parent. If facts come to light where the alleged father questions his paternity of a minor child or there is actual paternity fraud, the father may be able to seek relief through a theory of the law called paternity disestablishment. Paternity disestablishment is a legal process to declare the alleged father not the biological father and relieve him of child support obligations. Sometimes the emotional bond between the alleged father and child is so great that true parentage does not matter. The alleged father should seriously contemplate an action for paternity disestablishment as if proven it will generally also eliminate any time-sharing rights to the child. In other cases where distance or other factors have prevented a meaningful parent-child relationship, paternity disestablishment may permit both parents and the child to move forward without an ongoing contentious relationship. The issue must be addressed with the court immediately upon receipt of information leading the alleged father to question his paternity or the right to seek a paternity disestablishment may be lost. If the man named the father does not have access to the child to have paternity testing done, our Miami paternity lawyers can petition the court to require DNA testing.
Vari & Associates, LLC.
The foregoing legal guide was published to inform and not advise readers about Florida laws. The guide was authored by Attorney Lisa Marie Vari of the Miami, FL family law firm of Vari & Asssociates, LLC.