Paternity & DNA Testing
Paternity is the legal establishment of the identity of a child’s father, often through the use of DNA testing. This can determine child support, custody, adoption, and inheritance. Establishing paternity can help a mother enforce child support orders or in some cases, reunite estranged fathers with their children.
Florida law states that the mother is the natural and legal guardian of the child. When a married woman gives birth, the law assumes the child’s father is the mother’s husband. If the mother is unmarried at the time of the child’s birth, paternity must be established, either voluntarily or through a court order.
Consequently, the father’s rights can be challenged and jeopardized in the event of a breakup or a dispute. In this case, a paternity action can reestablish the father’s rights and obligations. If you have a child with someone you never married or are questioning paternity, a paternity suit is essential in order to restore your parental rights.
Paternity can be determined by highly accurate tests conducted on blood or tissue samples of the father or alleged father. These tests have a significant legal impact when establishing child custody and support.
What if the alleged father and mother never married and the father denies any responsibility for the child? A DNA test, as it is called, begins by submitting biological samples. These samples are sent to an independent laboratory, where the alleged father’s DNA is compared with the child’s DNA for a possible match.
If the genetic tests show a match between the alleged father’s DNA and the child’s DNA, then establishing paternity in this fashion is often quicker and less expensive for the parties than going to court.
An administrative order can allow the mother of the child to begin collecting child support. Our office will help you with anything related to this issue.
Paternity must be established before an action can be initiated.