In Florida the procedure for establishing paternity is set by statute. A paternity action must be brought to establish paternity of children born out of wedlock. The purpose of the paternity statute is to establish a basis for which a court may order child support from a man adjudicated to be the father of the illegitimate child. The law offices of West Palm Beach Paternity Attorney, Stephen J. Press, has been representing mothers and fathers in paternity cases for over four decades. To learn more, please contact our office at (561) 833-2772 for a free consultation.
Any woman who is pregnant or has a child and any man who has reason to believe that he is the father of a child, or any child may bring proceedings to determine the paternity of the child.
The statute authorizing paternity suits gives the accused father opportunity to file written defenses to the petition to establish paternity in the same manner as other civil law suits. The most obvious defense is non-paternity, which may be based on evidence of the impossibility of paternity because of the fathers absence from the state during the possible period of conception, the defendants medical or physical incapacity due to impotence or sterility.
In modern cases where a father doubts his paternity he may seek an order from the court requiring the parties to have their DNA determined by scientific testing. By statute, in any proceeding to establish paternity, the court may or upon request of a party order the child, mother and alleged father's to submit to Human Leukocyte Antigen (HLA) tests or other scientific tests that are scientifically accepted to show a probability of paternity. The court must direct that the tests be conducted by qualified technical laboratory. If the test results are disputed, the court may order that an additional test be made by the same or independent laboratory at the expense of the party him requesting the additional test. A statistical probability of 95% or more creates a rebuttable presumption that the alleged father is the biological father of the child. If the test results show that the alleged father cannot be the biological father, the case must be dismissed. Current DNA tests have a 99.99% reliability.Paternity Cases May Establish Both Child Support and Time Sharing
Child support is determined by the court utilizing the same child support guidelines as used in divorce proceedings. Furthermore, if either party makes a request the court make a determination concerning parental responsibility and time sharing. In order for the court to make a decision about parental responsibility and time sharing the parties must present a parenting plan to the court. If the parties cannot agree to the terms of the parenting plan the court will decide the parenting plan at a contested hearing.
Either a mother or father may file a paternity action in Florida. It is typical for the mother to initiate a paternity action and the father to file a counter petition requesting the court to make a determination concerning parental responsibility and timesharing. Mothers and fathers have equal rights concerning parental responsibility and time sharing whether in the context of a paternity proceeding or a divorce. In either case, the court will always consider what is in the best interest of the child.
Please contact the Law offices of Stephen J. Press at (561) 833-2772 for a free consultation contact us online.