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How to Establish Paternity in Florida?

PATERNITY ESTABLISHMENT
Little girl holding hands

In Florida, the establishment of paternity is not a complicated process. While there are different causes, this article will talk about how to establish paternity in Florida. One can also seek out a lawyer to get more advice about the paternity establishment. 

The advice is not to delay paternity cases. These cases can be lengthy, and one might have to pay due to child support if the other party sues them for it. (In case, the paternity is determined.)

How can I establish a paternity in Florida?

If the parents are not married at the time of the child’s birth

If the mother of the child is married at the time of the birth, her husband will be considered the kid’s legal father. Neither the mother nor the father has to work on anything to prove the paternity. The administration work is done by the hospital.

However, if the mother is married but does not list her current husband’s name as the child’s dad in the certificate, then the issue of paternity will be addressed by the court. 

If the parents are not married at the time the child is born

The kid’s father will have to fill the form as well as sign the Paternity Acknowledgment form. The form is also known as DH-511 at the hospitals. The mother and the father have to fill out the form when a notary public is present at the hospital as well as sign it.

This is the simplest method to settle the issue of paternity when the mom and dad are not married. 

The person who signs the Paternity Acknowledgment form will consider them the father as soon as it is filled out. This will be further sent from the hospital to the Florida Bureau of Vital Statistics. This is done to record the birth of the child. The father’s name will also be recorded as the legal guardian in the records. 

Additionally, this cannot be used if the mother is married at the time of the child’s birth.

If the mother not married at the time of the child’s birth but marries the child’s father later (0-18 years):

In these cases, the husband will become the father of the child. In case, the mother married the child’s father, while the name of the father is not added automatically. It can be added later on through the form. 

If you wish to add the father’s name to the certificate, then you first have to finish the Affirmation of Common Child (ren) Born in Florida form. It is also called DH-743A. Or they can also provide a written statement to the Clerk of Court.

This is done when they are applying for their marriage license. After the DH-743A form is presented to the parents, the Clerk of Court will send the form to the Florida Bureau of Vital Statistics. This will lead to the addition of the father’s name to the child’s birth certificate.

If the mother and father are not married after the child’s birth (0-18 years):

If the child reaches 18, the mother and father can establish paternity in florida only if they sign the Acknowledgment of Paternity form (Form DH-432). The mother and father will have to fill and sign the form in presence of a notary public or 2 witnesses.

The form can be obtained from your local Florida Health Department, Florida Department of Children and Families offices, or the Florida Bureau of Vital Statistics in Jacksonville

Then, you will have to mail the form to the Florida Bureau of Vital Statistics. Following this, they will change the name of the child’s father on the birth certificate. 

Important note: This can’t be used if the mother was married at the time of the birth of the child. Also, if you are going to print this form, print legal-size paper. For your convenience, here is a sample of the Acknowledgment of Paternity form in Florida:

Acknowledgemn of paternity form florida

If the paternity could not be corroborated in any other way (0-18 years):

In this case, the paternity is determined by the judge in a court. Through a civil action in a circuit court, paternity can be established. The judge will determine the paternity through a court order. 

The court will be asked by the Florida Dept. of Revenue to decide the paternity’s establishment. Till the time the paternity is not decided, the man will be referred to as the ‘Alleged father’.

On the evidence provided, the judge can also issue an order that states that the man is the kid’s father. In case of divorce or dependency, the judge can resort to other court actions for paternity. 

➡LEARN MORE: How to get a Paternity Test when the Mother Refuses?

The cases that go to court

  • The party filing for the action is to be served. 
  • The parents, if, agree upon the legal paternity a day before the court hearing. That way, they can sign a consent form. This will be used by the court for the final order. 
  • Both parents must appear before the court for the hearing.
  • If the person who is the alleged father is not present on the day of court. The judge will select the default option. It will make the alleged father, the legal one. So, do not be absent on the day of the hearing. 
  • The court can order a DNA/ Genetic test.
  • Either one or both parents can be asked to pay for the genetic test. Or any other court charges that come with it. 
  • The Child Support Program helps in determining the Paternity in the final order as well.

What if the parents do not wish to move to court?

They can approach the Florida Department of Revenue Service. The department can assist the following:

  • The mother of the child
  • The alleged father
  • The child/ children.

They must provide a genetic sample for testing. If the test proves that the alleged man is the bio father, then the debt of the Revenue Service will send paperwork for the Order of Paternity. This is to inform the Florida Bureau of Vital Statistics to add the man’s name as the father on the certificate. 

With the help from the Florida Department of Revenue Service:

  • The parents do not need to approach the court.
  • Saves the cost of a genetic/ DNA test. 
  • The judgment is based on the results from the test to establish paternity. 
  • This has the same authority as the court’s decision on paternity issues.
  • Taking the genetic test is easy and trustworthy.
  • The dept. will move to child support if the results come out as positive.