How to Contest Paternity in Florida
Florida family law provides a couple of methods for establishing and disestablishing paternity. The man who is married to the child’s mother at the time of birth is presumed to be the father and is automatically granted a father’s parental rights.
If an unmarried couple conceives a child, the biological father can acknowledge paternity by signing a birth certificate and provide support and care as a married father would. There are also cases where a court may establish paternity by naming a man as a child’s father.
However, men who are considered legal fathers but question their fatherhood can contest paternity. In Florida, there is a special procedure for challenging a paternity claim. The name of the process is “disestablishment of paternity.”
If you want to contest paternity, speak with an Orlando paternity attorney first. Here at Donna Hung Law Group, our family law attorneys can help you file a petition seeking to contest paternity and prove that you are not the biological father.
Disestablishment of Paternity in Florida
The legal process of contesting paternity in Florida – also known as “disestablishment of paternity” – is a way for men to make corrections regarding child custody and be eligible to stop paying child support.
But what does it take for a man to discontinue his child support obligations by contesting paternity? First and foremost, the man should file a petition seeking to disestablish paternity and to terminate child support if he can prove that he is not the biological father.
The petition must be served to the child’s mother and the Florida Department of Revenue. If the named father has child support obligations, the request must be filed in the court with jurisdiction over the child support order.
If there is no child support order in place, the named father can file the petition in the court where the mother or legal guardian resides. If the mother and child have relocated to another state, you can go to the court where you live.
What to Prove to Contest Paternity in Florida
When filing the petition to disestablish paternity, the request must also include:
- A sworn statement or affidavit stating that it has come to the petitioner’s knowledge that he is not the biological father; and
- The results of paternity tests administered within 90 days before the filing demonstrate that he is not the father. Or the named father can file an affidavit saying that he was denied or otherwise did not have access to the child to perform paternity tests.
When Do Florida Courts Grant a Disestablishment of Paternity?
In Florida, courts grant the father’s petition to disestablish paternity if:
- The named father was not aware that he was not the biological father when paternity was established;
- The paternity tests are accurate and were conducted correctly;
- The testing shows that the petitioner is indeed not the father;
- The named father is not behind on child support payments;
- The petitioner is not the adoptive father;
- Artificial insemination was not used to conceive the child while the named father was married to the mother;
- The petitioner did not prevent the biological father from asserting his parental rights; and
- The child did not turn 18 years old when the “paternity disestablishment” request was filed.
In Florida, contesting paternity involves presenting compelling evidence regarding numerous factors. Here at Donna Hung Law Group, our Orlando paternity attorneys are knowledgeable about the process of paternity disestablishment.
Talk to our lawyers to discuss your options regarding contested paternity by calling at 407-999-0099 or complete this contact form. We offer a confidential consultation.