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How fathers can establish paternity

On Behalf of | Jun 16, 2023 | Paternity

A father’s paternal rights to his child should be established when he becomes a father. Unfortunately, some circumstances make it difficult for a father to accomplish this. In Florida, establishing paternity depends on the circumstances surrounding the child’s birth and the father’s relationship with the mother.

Married parents

A husband’s fatherhood of a child in wedlock is deemed legal upon birth. The hospital staff is responsible for filling out paperwork to acknowledge legal paternity. If the wife does not list her husband as the father on the birth certificate, he must file for his paternity rights in court.

Unmarried parents

For parents that are not legally married, the state of Florida requires that the father fills out a Paternity Acknowledgement form, also referred to as Form DH-511. The hospital provides a notary who must witness the signing of the form by both parents. Once the form gets signed and notarized, the hospital sends the form to the Florida Bureau of Vital Statistics, and the father can begin to exercise his paternal legal rights.

Parental marriage after birth

If the parents decide to marry after the birth of their child, the husband then becomes the child’s legal guardian. However, marriage does not automatically give the father paternity rights. To add the father to the birth certificate and proclaim the father’s paternity, both parents must complete Form DH-743A, the Affirmation of Common Children Born in Florida and file it with the court for approval.

Parents remain unmarried after the birth of their child

Parents are not required to be married to continue to care for their newborn. However, to allow the father to obtain his paternal rights, the father and mother must fill out Form DH-432. The form must be completed and filed for paternal legal rights before the child’s 18th birthday.

Establishing paternity requires communication and acknowledgment; the process is different for parents in various stages of marriage. Knowing how to establish paternity before and after the birth of a child is vital to the process of a father’s legal rights.