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How can unwed fathers establish paternity in Florida?

On Behalf of | Dec 20, 2022 | Paternity

Florida fathers play an important role in the lives of their children. This is the case regardless of if they are married or not. However, from a legal standpoint, fathers have unique rights depending on whether they are wed to their child’s mother. 

In Florida, the law presumes married men are the fathers of any child born during the marriage. No presumption exists if the father is not married to the child’s mother. While this is true, there are options for men to establish paternity if they are unwed

Genetic testing

For a father to gain legal rights to a child, they must establish paternity. One option to do this is genetic testing. 

To utilize genetic testing, a father must go through the courts, and the child’s mother is typically required to cooperate. Once the test results are complete, it is clear if the man in question is the father. If he is, he can establish parental rights. 

Parental agreement

Another option for establishing paternity is through an agreement. It can be legally binding if the child’s mother and father agree that he is the father. 

To do this, the parents must sign a stipulation or affidavit that states the man is the father and then file the document with the court. Another way to do this is with a voluntary acknowledgment of paternity. For this, the document must be notarized and signed by two witnesses. With this option, either parent can rescind it within 60 days. 

Establishing paternity in Florida

If unwed fathers want custody rights to their children, they must establish paternity first. Florida offers several methods to do this. Men should know their legal rights and options to ensure they can play a role in their child’s life.