Paternity is the legal establishment of a father and child relationship for children born out of wedlock.  Chapter 742, Florida Statutes provides for primary jurisdiction and procedures for the determination of paternity for children born out of wedlock.  Paternity may be established by an administrative proceeding or by a court of law.  Any woman who is pregnant or has a child, any man who has reason to believe that he is the father of a child, or any child may bring proceedings in the Circuit Court to determine the paternity of the child, when paternity has not been established by a law or otherwise.

A putative father is a person alleged to be the father a child.  A putative father is entitled to bring an action to determine paternity and to establish all rights and responsibilities for the child.  Once a putative father is determined to be the father of the child, the court may establish parenting responsibilities and timesharing for the child and financial responsibility for the support of the child, including child support, health insurance, uncovered medical, dental and other similar expenses and life insurance to secure the payment of future child support in the event the father predeceases the child.

Paternity may be established in different ways, including an adjudicatorial hearing brought under the statutes governing inheritance, a dependency under workers’ compensation or similar compensation programs, an affidavit acknowledging paternity or a stipulation of paternity executed by both the mother and father and filed with the clerk of the court, a notarized affidavit voluntarily acknowledging paternity or a voluntary acknowledgement of paternity that is witnessed by two individuals and signed under penalty of perjury, or an adjudication by the Department of Revenue, as well as by a court of law.   Although Florida law provides no presumption in favor of a mother or father, where issues regarding parental responsibility and timesharing are concerned,   Chapter 744.301, Florida Statutes, provides the mother of a child born out of wedlock is legally considered to be the natural guardian of the child until such time that a court of competent jurisdiction enters an order or judgment stating otherwise.

Scientific (DNA) testing may be required to show a probability of paternity.

Florida Statute, Chapter 742 of the Florida Statutes provides for the determination of parentage under different circumstances that may exist and may also provides for the disestablishment of paternity or termination of child support obligation.

The Dorsey Firm has been representing clients in paternity cases for over thirty five (35) years and is committed to providing competent and aggressive representation for our clients.

For more information call our office at (904) 346-3883 or Contact Us to set for an appointment and learn your rights.

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