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How is paternity determined in Florida?

Establishing paternity may be viewed by many in Sarasota as little more than talk show fodder. This is no doubt due to the assumption that if there is even a question of paternity, it likely means that the man believed to be a child's father is trying to duck his parental responsibilities (such as paying child support). That such a thought is even implied might also lead many to assume that there is an element of vindictiveness present on the part of the child's mother. Yet that may rarely be the case. Most often, establishing paternity is simply meant to legally recognize the link between father and child. 

If you find yourself needing to establish your child's paternity, you may be surprised to learn that there are many ways to do so. The law typically recognizes the man that you are married to at the time of your child's birth as being their father (even if that man is not your child's biological parent). Even if you are unmarried, your romantic partner can accept the paternity of your child as long as he indicates his willingness to through documentation submitted to the state. 

If the man you believe to be your child's father refuses to acknowledge paternity, Section 742.12 of Florida's state statutes says that you can petition the court to mandate scientific testing be done to establish paternity. The law goes on to say that a result indicating a probability of 95 percent or greater that the man in question is indeed the father of your child establishes a rebuttable presumption of paternity. This would make him responsible for the child's support (if additional assistance is needed). 

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Schipani and Norman, P.A.
1605 Main Street, Suite 1110
Sarasota, FL 34236

Phone: 941-549-8981
Fax: 941-366-7331
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