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Ways Florida fathers can establish paternity

On Behalf of | Jun 25, 2024 | Paternity

Fathers have a huge role to play in the upbringing and welfare of their children. As such, being legally recognized is crucial. 

Fathers can establish paternity through several methods to get their parental rights and responsibilities formally recognized by the law.

Court ordered test

Paternity can be established through a court order requiring a genetic test to determine biological parentage. This process typically involves submitting DNA samples from the alleged father, child and sometimes the mother to a certified laboratory for analysis. The results of the test provide scientific evidence of paternity, which the court uses to legally recognize the father’s rights and responsibilities towards the child.

Voluntary acknowledgment or legitimation

Fathers can establish paternity through voluntary acknowledgment, where both parents co-sign a legal document at the hospital or a designated office. This process confirms the father’s legal relationship with the child without court involvement, granting him rights and responsibilities. Paternity can also be established through legitimation if the parents marry after the child’s birth, automatically legitimizing the child and acknowledging the father’s rights.

Administrative order based on DNA testing

A father can also establish paternity by acquiring an administrative order based on DNA testing through the Florida Department of Revenue’s Child Support Program. This process involves submitting DNA samples from the alleged father, child and sometimes the mother for analysis. If the genetic test confirms paternity, the Department of Revenue can issue an administrative order formally establishing legal parentage. 

Married parents are not required to establish paternity through these methods, as the husband is recognized as the legal father of children born during the marriage. This presumption of paternity applies unless proven otherwise through legal proceedings such as divorce or a challenge to paternity. Legal guidance can help fathers better understand the process of paternity establishment and help ensure their rights and responsibilities are protected by law.