How to Establish Paternity in Florida ? Part Two: Establishing Paternity in the Courts
Sometimes the issue of deciding the biological and or legal paternity of a child is best done through the courts and thus letting a judge make the final decision. In Part one of this blog, the out-of-court ways to establish who the real and or legal father of a child are discussed. This part will tell you about using the Family Courts for a paternity matter.
When filing a court case to determine paternity in the state of Florida, there are four ways the action can be initiated:
• The man who is needing to know if he is or is not the father of the child in question
• The mother of the child in question
• The Florida Department of Revenue
• Someone who is the child’s legal representative and is acting in the child’s behalf
An interesting note: sometimes a court case can begin before a child’s birth, but the final decision will not be made until after the birth. Also, it is necessary to understand a case initiated by the Florida Department of Revenue for the possible ordering of child support cannot be used to grant the father shared custody, parenting time, or any other related matter.
In addition to the results of a paternity test done independently or so ordered by the court, a judge will take into consideration testimony regarding evidence pertaining to the man being or not being the child’s legal father. Statements and actions involving the man and the child as heard and or witnessed by others can be used. This is especially helpful when a man appeals to the court for the right to shared parenting as the biological father, even if the mother has married and her husband, by law since the child was born after the marriage, is considered the legal father. Unfortunately, just proving a man is a biological father does not, without a court order or the signing of a consent order before the court hearing, allow a man the legal right to be involved in his child’s life.
But what happens when a man has been assured, he was the biological father and so agreed to the fact he was the legal father as well and has been paying child support as required. Sometime later he is told he is not the biological father and a DNA test proves it. While it is difficult to establish a man no longer should be paying child support, with the help of an experienced attorney, the court can cancel the child support order. This type of legal journey can be most tricky and should be attempted only with the help of a Family Law professional. If you live in Florida in Palm Beach, Martin, St. Lucie, Miami-Dade, Broward, Orange, or Hillsborough county, in New York or Washington DC, Family Law Attorney Grant Gisondo has over a decade of experience to help you with any type of legal paternity issue. He offers a free, initial, in-office consultation where you can meet with him personally and ask questions as well as learn how he will be able to help in your particular case. To make an appointment to meet with him you can call his office number at (561) 530-4568. His office hours are Monday through Friday from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM and, for new clients, on Saturday from 8:30 AM to 1:00 PM.