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Tampa Divorce Attorney | Blog | Family Law | I Suspect That I Am Not the Biological Father of My Child. Can I Disestablish Paternity?

I Suspect That I Am Not the Biological Father of My Child. Can I Disestablish Paternity?


In Florida, when you are not married to the child’s mother, you must establish paternity to be considered the child’s legal father. Once paternity is established, the father has equal legal rights and responsibilities as the mother does to the child. Unfortunately, sometimes, after a father establishes paternity by signing a voluntary acknowledgment of paternity form, he may later discover that he is not the biological father of the child. If you suspect that you are not the biological father of your child, you may be wondering if you can disestablish paternity.

So, can you disestablish paternity in Florida? Simply put, yes, you can disestablish paternity in Florida. However, this is only allowed in limited circumstances, and the process of disestablishing paternity is not an easy one. Below are some crucial things you need to know about disestablishing paternity in Florida

What Does It Mean to Disestablish Paternity?

Disestablishing paternity is the process of revoking or disproving the acknowledged paternity of a child. Once a legally liable father manages to disestablish paternity, they are absolved of their parental responsibility to support the child. Also, disestablishing paternity results in a father losing any legal rights associated with being the child’s father. Disestablishing paternity is a complex legal (and potentially emotional) matter, so seeking legal counsel is highly advisable.

How Do You Disestablish Paternity in Florida?

To begin the process of disestablishing paternity you need to file a petition to disestablish paternity and terminate child support (if applicable) with the court. You need to file this petition in the circuit court with jurisdiction over the child support order (if a child support order exists) or in the circuit court where the child’s mother lives if there is no child support order. If the child and mother are not in Florida, you can file the petition where you reside.

Because of the impact that disestablishing paternity can have on a mother and the child, Florida law requires you to give notice to the child’s mother and, if you have a child support order, to the Department of Revenue.

According to Florida Statute 742.18, the following is what must be included in your initial filing;

  • An affidavit detailing your reasons for taking this step. In the affidavit, you must include any newly discovered evidence that came to light after paternity was established or a child support order was issued.
  • Genetic test results that show you are most likely not the child’s biological father.
  • An affidavit stating that you are current on all child support payments. If there are past due payments, you must explain why this is the case.

In Florida, the courts are required to grant a petition of disestablishment of paternity if, among others, the following facts are found;

  • There is newly discovered evidence relating to the paternity of the child that wasn’t known at the time paternity was established or a child support order was issued.
  • The genetic test was conducted properly.
  • Child support payments are current, and any delinquency happened due to “just cause.”
  • The father has not adopted the child.
  • The legal father didn’t prevent the child’s biological father from asserting his rights.

Let Our Tampa, FL Family Law Attorney Help

If you suspect you are not the biological father of your child and are considering disestablishing paternity, contact a skilled Tampa family law attorney at The Law Office of Laura A. Olson, P.A., to schedule a consultation and discuss your case.

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