Pursuant to Florida law, there is a presumption that if children are born during a marriage, the Husband and Wife are the legal mother and father of those children. When circumstances arise that the children are born outside of a marriage, the putative father may seek paternity testing. Paternity testing consists of a scientific test that is generally acceptable in the community which shows the probability of paternity. Chapter 742 Florida Statutes generally govern paternity testing.
It is a joyous event, the birth of a child. At the time of the birth the father may or may not be present. If present, he may sign an Affidavit acknowledging that he is the father of the newborn. But along with the joys of children, financial responsibilities ensue. In the State of Florida, child support continues through the age of 18 or if that child is reasonably expected to graduate from high school, up to the age of 19. Child support may be extended beyond the aforesaid time frame under certain circumstances. Speak with your attorney to discuss those circumstances.
The failure to support a child can result in serious consequences such as a loss of professional licenses, loss of a driver’s license, invalidation of passport privileges and even jail time. In 2006, the Florida legislature enacted, 742.18 Florida Statutes which provides for Paternity Disestablishment. This remedy is only available to males and is very specific procedurally. Establishment of paternity is very important, especially as to how the issue will impact the children, including for their medical history and inheritance. It is important that this area of the law be addressed timely and appropriately by you and your family law attorney.