Do Florida Paternity Suits Protect Unmarried Fathers Rights?
Florida Statute 742.10 governs establishing paternity in Florida for children born out of wedlock. Consequently, until there is a legal order establishing a fathers rights, he has none. The unwed mother remains the natural guardian of the child. Most noteworthy, this is true even if the dude is the undisputed father. And, yes, even if the father is listed on the child’s birth certificate. Fathers rights under Florida law are afforded extremely limited protection. Bottom line? Don’t believe the hype father rights attorneys are trying to shove down your throat.
A History of Unmarried Fathers Rights and the Acknowledgment that Paternity Suits are Necessary
For centuries, children born out of lawful wedlock have always fallen under the classification of illegitimate. At common law, an illegitimate child had no father. Thus, under the common laws legal definition, an unmarried fathers rights and obligations to an illegitimate child didn’t exist.
All states now have recorded statutes that confer rights upon illegitimate children that they didn’t previously have. These statutes also provide a mechanism to determine fatherhood through paternity suits.
How Unmarried Fathers Rights have Evolved
The Uniform Parentage Act of 1973 adopted the principle that all children and all parents have equal rights. Regardless of the parents’ marital status. The modern trend in fathers rights law is to also eliminate discrimination based on illegitimacy. This is done with the acknowledgment that any and all action is taken that’s necessary to determine what is in the child’s best interests. States vary in their determination of the primary purpose of parents paternity suits when establishing child parental obligations. Consequently, these suits have two primary goals:
- To provide support for out-of-wedlock children.
- To reimburse the state, city, or municipality for financial assistance rendered to children on public aid.
As stated, under common law, a father had a duty to support only his legitimate children. However, equal protection has abolished this distinction. It’s now well established that an illegitimate child must be supported just as a legitimate child would be. Therefore, a fathers moral obligation to provide child support is now a legal obligation. This also relieves the public of the burden to support the child under the sanction of the laws paternity suits.
Establishing Paternity in Florida through the Palm Beach County Court
We live in a world where the term baby daddy has made its way into the Oxford English Dictionary. Our approval rating of talk shows directly corresponds with the number of men on a DNA panel to determine child paternity. It may come as a surprise that proving you are not the father of a child is much more difficult than those guys on Maury make it look. This is especially relevant if the man is married to the child’s mother at the time of the child’s birth.
As a result, many believe that these father state regulations put a strain on the parent child relationship. In fact, there are several circumstances which prohibit a man from contesting it in Florida altogether. It is therefore extremely important to be familiar with these exceptions for fathers to access child rights in pbc. These type of mother father suits at the Palm Beach County court house can be complex. Of course, you can always skip retaining a child custody attorney and try to get information from a civil court administrator or clerk. Cue the laugh track.
Establishing Unmarried Fathers Rights in Florida through DNA Testing and Acknowledgement of Paternity
The sad truth? Unless there has been an established court order, unmarried fathers rights don’t exist. Furthermore, a court order requires a centers site test to prove fatherhood. Test results are then filed at any of the public courthouses in Palm Beach County. Any objection to the test results must be made in writing and filed at least 10 days prior to the hearing. Finally, the test results are admitted into evidence if no objection is filed.
Fathers Rights in Florida Paternity Suits
Many states limit the rights unmarried fathers can assert in paternity court. Florida is no different. A presumption is created that the stated father is the biological father of the child if there’s a statistical probability of 95% or more. If a party fails to rebut the presumption in filed paternity suits which arose from the statistical probability of 95% or more, it’s easy. The Palm Beach County court simply enters a judgment that confirms the results. This serves as an acknowledgement of the unmarried fathers rights.
If the test results show the alleged father can’t be the biological father, the case will be dismissed. Legal fathers can also dispute the test results or the expert analysis. At the expense of the requesting party, the court can also order an additional test.
The Details behind Establishing Paternity in Florida at the Palm Beach County Court
While it may seem counter-intuitive, you better be careful if you are trying to prove you ain’t no baby daddy. If you know you are not the father of a child, there are certain things you can do that will take away your right to contest it:
- By marrying the child’s mother and voluntarily assuming the obligation to pay child support.
- Through an acknowledgment of paternity Florida requires a sworn statement.
- By agreeing to be named as the father on the child’s birth certificate.
- By ignoring a request from a state agency to submit to scientific testing.
The Goal of Establishing Unmarried Fathers Rights in Florida
It also provides both parents with legal rights:
- The ability to get a child support order.
- Ability to get a court order for visitation or custody.
- The ability to weigh in on legal decisions about the child.
Acknowledgement of Paternity Florida Basics
A voluntary acknowledgement creates a rebuttable presumption of Florida fatherhood. Thus, no judicial or administrative proceeding is required to affirm or ratify the acknowledgement. This may be rescinded for any reason within 60 days of signing. After 60 days, it establishes paternity legally. Consequently, this may be challenged only for fraud, duress, or material mistake of fact.
How Child Support affects Unmarried Fathers Rights in Florida
If appropriate, the Palm Beach County court can order the father to cover certain expenses when paternity is proven:
- Reasonable attorneys fees
- Hospital or medical expenses
- Cost of confinement
- Any other expenses incident to the birth of child
- All costs and fees associated with the Palm Beach County court case
Bills for pregnancy, childbirth, and scientific testing are admissible as evidence of amounts incurred for such services or for testing on behalf of the child. Establishing paternity in Florida for a child born out of wedlock does not merely generate an obligation to pay child support. It also allows the father visitation rights and a claim for child custody.
Do Unmarried Fathers Rights in Florida Paternity Suits Exist? Or Does The Palm Beach County Court Just Not Care?
On a side note, the first question is so mind blowing it almost sounds fake, doesn’t it? There is one cardinal rule to remember. Unmarried fathers rights in Florida must be addressed immediately. The primary focus of family court is on the best interest of the child. This means that the window for proving that you are indeed ‘not the father’ is small, at best. This is one situation where speak now or forever hold your peace really does resonate. For a father paternity is the magic word.