Family Law Attorneys

Family Law Attorneys

Florida Paternity Laws

Paternity laws vary by state, so here’s a breakdown of common questions regarding paternity in Florida:

  • Children Born Outside of Wedlock

    • The mother has primary custody until a court establishes the father.
    • She can leave the state before a paternity order.
    • The alleged father has no legal rights until paternity is established.
  • Establishing Paternity

    • Completing a birth certificate or being on the Father Registry suggests paternity but doesn’t confirm it. A court order is needed for certainty.
  • Presumption of Fatherhood

    • The law presumes a child born to married parents is the husband’s biological child.  But this presumption can be challenged in court.
    • If the alleged father claims legitimacy (being the biological father), the court appoints a guardian for the child before any DNA testing.
    • Blood testing requires a hearing (“Privette hearing”). The person requesting the test (moving party) must prove they are the father with clear and convincing evidence.
    • Even if the legal father isn’t biological, there must be a solid reason to overcome the presumption (in the child’s best interests).
    • A married couple cannot simply agree that the husband isn’t the father.
    • The “non-access rule” can overcome the presumption that the husband couldn’t have conceived the child.

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