How Is Paternity Generally Established Pursuant To Florida Law?
Pursuant to Florida statute, if the parties are not married and have a child out of wedlock, then it is necessary to file a petition to establish paternity. If the parties have no doubt that they are in fact the biological parents of the child, then the courts will establish the paternity, parental responsibility, child support and other factors related to the child. Parental responsibility means that the parties must make major decisions together. If they can’t make major decisions together, then someone may be given ultimate decision-making authority. If one party is a detriment to the child, then the other parent may be given sole parental responsibility, which means that they don’t have to consult with the other parent regarding any sort of major decision.
With regards to time sharing, the courts will establish a plan that is in the best interest of the child. Child support and other financial provisions related to the child will be established based on the party’s incomes, daycare/aftercare expenses, health insurance expenses, and the number of overnight times sharing between the parties.
If the parties are uncertain as to whether or not the male litigant is the biological father of the child, the courts can order DNA testing. However, it’s very important if you are unsure as to whether or not you are the father of a child to established paternity by DNA testing before you are signing an acknowledgement of paternity in any manner, as it is more difficult to disestablish paternity unless you have newly discovered evidence.
Is Having The Father’s Name On The Birth Certificate Enough To Establish Paternity In Florida?
In order to establish legal paternity, you must file a paternity action. Even if the child has the father’s last name and the father is named on the birth certificate, the father has no legal rights to see his child.
Is The Biological Father The Only Person Who Can Be Legally Recognized As The Father?
Florida courts have stated that if a child is born during the course of a marriage, then that child is deemed the child of the husband. However, there have been issues where the parties have separated and a married woman has been impregnated by another man. Since the law had stated that the child was deemed her husband’s child, it precluded the biological father from asserting any sort of rights. Recently, the law has changed and a Supreme Court ruling has decided that if a man has had sexual relations with a married woman and they have produced a child, he can assert a right in order to claim that he is the biological father and establish timesharing.
If I Find Out That A Child Is Not My Biological Child, Can I Disestablish Paternity?
If you find that a child is not your biological child and you have newly discovered evidence, meaning a DNA test that unequivocally shows that you are not the father, you may file a petition to disestablish paternity.
Do I Still Have To Pay Child Support If I Have Successfully Disestablished Paternity?
If there is a disestablishment of paternity, then child support would cease and you wouldn’t have any further financial responsibility for that child.
For more information on Establishing Paternity Pursuant To Florida Law, a free initial consultation is your next step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (239) 334-4383 today.