Understanding Your Rights As A Non-Custodial Father

Father and Sons

In Florida, approximately 47.8 percent of children were born from unwed mothers, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This means Florida has the fourth-highest birth rate for unwed women in the United States.

This data means there are many fathers who have children with women who are not their wives. In many instances, these fathers want to have a relationship with the child, despite not proceeding with a marriage to the mother. 

Father to a Child Born from an Already-Married Mother

A delicate and complex situation that may occur is when a father has a child with a mother who is still married to another person at the time of the child’s birth. Who has the legal right to raise the child? Can the mother pursue child support from the biological father, even though she is currently married to someone else? A recent Florida case addressed these issues. The case involved a woman who gave birth to a child and did not provide paternal information in the child’s birth certificate. However, she gave the child the last name of the biological father.

Two years after the birth of the child, the biological father sought a court determination concerning the paternity of the child. The mother resisted, arguing that when she gave birth to the child, she was married to another man and the child was the product of an intact marriage thereby negating any legal right the other man had to even challenge the paternity of the child.

The trial judge agreed with the mother declaring that a man seeking to establish paternity is barred from doing so when a child is born into an intact marriage. The biological father filed an appeal and he was victorious. The appellate court held that a biological father’s rights do not vanish simply because the mother is married to another man. The appellate court explained that there is indeed a presumption of legitimacy for the man who is married to the mother, but that may be overcome in certain rare circumstances. The court determined that this was one of those rare circumstances.

Though the biological father was victorious in this case, it does not mean a biological father in a similar situation will prevail. This is because, under Florida law, there is a strong presumption in favor of a husband being deemed the biological father of a child born from his wife. In fact, some courts in Florida have gone so far as to declare that this presumption of legitimacy can never be rebutted by another man. 

Contact an Experienced Boca Raton Paternity Lawyer Today

If you are attempting to establish paternity, or you were served papers indicating that paternity is being challenged, you need the guidance and counsel of an experienced Boca Raton paternity and family law attorney. The Law Offices of David L. Hirschberg, P.A. is here to help. We possess years of experience helping Boca Raton residents and families resolve important issues concerning paternity testing, divorce, and other family law matters.

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