Paternity of a child may be established several different ways in Florida. A man is presumed to be the father of the child if he was married to the mother of the child at the time of the child’s conception or birth; if the mother of the child was unmarried at the time of the child’s birth but the man acknowledges paternity of the child at the time of the child’s birth at the hospital; the mother of the child was unmarried at the time of the child’s birth and the man acknowledged paternity after the birth of the child by filing a Consenting Affidavit Acknowledging Paternity prior to the occurrence of certain circumstances; and paternity of the child is adjudicated by the court prior to a petition for the termination of parental rights is filed with the court.
In Florida, an unmarried biological father must register his paternity with local officials including the Florida Department of Health, Office of Vital Statistics. Paternity is determined by conducting a DNA test. All potential biological fathers must be notified of a potential adoption in Florida prior to the adoption. Paternity has important legal implications, including rights and obligations such as child custody and child support considerations. Once a man has been determined to be the biological father of the child, the family law legal process can help establish child support obligations and child custody and visitation options.
Paternity has important legal, social and emotional implications and consequences for children and families. Because of the ongoing importance of establishing paternity in Florida for children, fathers and families, it is helpful to understand the process and know what to expect when establishing paternity through the paternity process.
Source: The Florida Bar, “Adoption in Florida Pamphlet,” Accessed Sept. 7, 2015