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How To Establish A Child’s Paternity In Florida


Did you know that in Florida the law distinguishes between biological fathers and legal fathers? While for many children their biological father is also their legal father, this is not the case for every child. Think of it this way, a child’s biological father is the man who genetically fathered him or her while, on the other hand, a child’s legal father is a man who has been afforded the legal rights and responsibilities associated with parenthood in association with that child. These legal rights and responsibilities are afforded to a child’s legal father when paternity is established. Read on to learn about the various ways in which paternity can be established in Florida.

How to Establish Paternity at Birth

In Florida, paternity is automatically established when a child is born to a legally married couple. This is because the mother’s husband is presumed to be the biological father of the child and becomes the child’s legal father at birth. Assuming that the mother lists her husband’s name on the child’s birth certificate then neither parent needs to take any further action to establish paternity, the hospital will take care of the necessary paperwork.

However, if a child is born in Florida to an unmarried couple then paternity can be established when the child is born if both parents fill out and sign a Paternity Acknowledgement Form in front of a notary public while at the hospital.

Other Ways to Establish the Paternity of a Minor

If a baby’s paternity was not established at birth then the child’s paternity can be established in any of the following ways while he or she is still a minor:

  1. If the mother of the child was unmarried when the baby was born, but later marries the child’s father, then her husband becomes the child’s legal father. However, please note that the legal father’s name is not automatically added to the child’s birth certificate but can be added by submitting some simple paperwork.
  2. A child’s mother and father, regardless of whether or not they are currently married, can also establish paternity at any time before their child turns 18 by filling out and signing an Acknowledgement of Paternity form in the presence of a notary public (or two witnesses) and mailing it to the Florida Bureau of Vital Statistics. However, please note that this option is not available if the mother of the child was married when the child was born.
  3. Paternity can also be established by a legal order. In order to establish paternity via this route a civil petition must be filed asking the court to issue an order stating the child’s paternity.

Let Us Help You with your Case

If you would like legal assistance with a Florida family law matter, such as establishing paternity, the experienced family law attorneys of the Madonna Law Group are here to help. One of our lawyers would be happy to discuss your legal options with you, simply contact our Dade City office at (800) 557-0411 in order to make an appointment.

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