Establishing and Contesting Paternity in Florida

When Paternity Is An Issue

In today’s society, where the term “baby daddy” has made its way into the Oxford English Dictionary and talk show’s ratings skyrocket according to the number of men undergoing DNA testing, it’s no surprise that the topic has become a hot button issue. In Florida, trying to disestablish a person from being a child’s legal father, especially when a child is born during a valid marriage, can prove difficult.  Fla Stat §742.18, the statute which provides for paternity disestablishment, mandates that only a male may disestablish same and provides a number of circumstances in which he is altogether barred from contesting it.


How Paternity Is Established

A male who engages in the following conduct, while knowing he is not the father of the child, is not eligible to disestablish his standing as legal father if he participates in several statutorily identified acts. If he marries the child’s mother and voluntarily assumes the parental obligation to pay child support; acknowledges his paternity in a sworn statement; consents to be named as the father on the child’s birth certificate; promises in writing to support the child and is required to support the child based on the promise; disregards a request from a state agency to submit to scientific testing; or signs a voluntary acknowledgment of paternity unless it is set aside for fraud. Further, unlike the standard for many Florida family law proceedings, the “best interest of the child” standard does not come into play.

There are many nuances to contesting paternity and it is important to have a knowledgeable family law attorney on your side. Whether facing divorce or a child support proceeding, this issue must be addressed immediately. For more information, click Broward County family lawyer today to schedule your consultation. This is one situation where “speak now or forever hold your peace” really does resonate.

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