Divorce Attorney Scott J. Stadler

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What is It?

There are two types of proceedings to establish paternity. One type is an administrative proceeding by the Florida Department of Revenue on behalf of mother’s seeking to collect child support.

Florida Statute 409.256 (1)(e) defines “Paternity and child support proceeding” as an administrative action commenced by the Department of Revenue to order genetic testing, establish paternity, and establish an administrative support order pursuant to this section.

Florida Statute 409.256(1)(f) defines “Paternity proceeding” as an administrative action commenced by the Department of Revenue to order genetic testing and establish paternity pursuant to this section.

Florida Statute 409.256(1)(g) defines “Putative father” as an individual who is or may be the biological father of a child whose paternity has not been established and whose mother was unmarried when the child was conceived and born.

The Florida Department of Revenue may begin a paternity proceeding to establish paternity and collect child support if:

  1. The child’s paternity has not been established.
  2. No one is named as the father on the child’s birth certificate or the person named as the father is the putative father named in an affidavit or a written declaration.
  3. The child’s mother was unmarried when the child was conceived and born.
  4. The department is providing services under Title IV-D.
  5. The child’s mother or a putative father has stated in an affidavit, or in a written declaration as provided in s. 92.525(2), that the putative father is or may be the child’s biological father. The affidavit or written declaration must set forth the factual basis for the allegation of paternity as provided in s. 742.12(2).

The second type of proceeding to establish paternity is where either the mother or father files a petition in court for a determination of paternity, child support and timesharing. In these cases the Florida Department of Revenue is not involved. Once paternity is established, the issues of child support and timesharing are addressed.

Pursuant to Florida Statute 742.18 a man may petition the court to disestablish paternity. When children are born during a marriage, there is a presumption under Florida law that the children are the children of the legal father and mother. This statute established circumstances when a man may disestablish paternity and terminate his child support obligation when he learns that he is not the biological father of the child.

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