According to the Florida Department of Revenue’s website, paternity in Florida can legally be established in any of the following five ways:
In Florida, if a mother is married when she gives birth then her husband is legally presumed to be the father of her child. If the mother puts her husband’s name on the child’s birth certificate then the hospital will take care of all the other paperwork necessary to establish the child’s paternity. However, if a married mother does not list her husband’s name on the child’s birth certificate then the child’s paternity must be addressed in one of the other manners listed below.
If a mother is unmarried when her child is born and then later marries the baby’s biological father, her husband becomes the legal father of her child. However, the father’s name is not automatically added to the child’s birth certificate. The couple must update the child’s birth certificate by completing an Affirmation of Common Child(ren) Born in Florida Form (form DH-743A) or by signing a written statement under oath in from of the Court Clerk when they apply for their marriage license. The Court Clerk will then contact the Florida Bureau of Vital Statistics and have the father’s name added to the child’s birth certificate.
- Acknowledgement of Paternity
An unmarried couple in Florida can acknowledge their child’s paternity at any time until the child reaches age 18 by filling out and signing an Acknowledgement of Paternity Form (form DH-432) in front of two witnesses or a notary public. The couple can mail their form to the Florida Bureau of Vital Statistics and the bureau will add the legal father’s name to the child’s birth certificate. It is important to note that this option is only available if the mother was not married when she gave birth.
- Court Order
One way to legally establish paternity in Florida is to file a civil action, go to court, and obtain a court order indicating who the child’s father is. If both parents agree to legal paternity and sign a consent order before their day in court then the court will likely adopt the consent order as the final order of the court. However, if the parents do not agree to the child’s paternity then the judge will likely order genetic testing in order to help determine if the alleged father is in fact the child’s biological father. Additionally, if an alleged father fails to appear in court for their paternity hearing then the judge may issue an order stating that he is the legal father by default.
- Genetic Testing
Parents who want to establish their child’s paternity without going to court can do so via voluntary genetic testing. To do this, the family must provide genetic samples from the mother, the alleged father, and the child to a local Child Support Office for testing. If the test results show that the alleged father is in fact the child’s biological father then the office will issue an Administrative Order of Paternity (which can be used to add the father’s name to the child’s birth certificate). An Administrative Order of Paternity has the same effect as a court order establishing paternity.
Need Legal Advice?
If you need help establishing legal paternity in Florida, contact the Law Offices of David L. Hirschberg, P.A. without delay. Our compassionate paternity lawyer has extensive experience handling family law issues in the Boca Raton area, and throughout South Florida, and would be happy to assist you. Contact us online or call today at (561) 763-7622 to schedule a confidential consultation.