Paternity Determination


Broward family law attorney Holiday Russell has been assisting families with a wide array of family law and child custody issues, including questions of paternity for over three decades. Florida Family Law attorney, Mr. Russell understands that paternity issues can be particularly contentious, and is committed to providing his clients with outstanding legal representation whether you are attempting to establish or contest paternity.

Under Florida law, paternity may be determined in two ways: (1) marriage – a child born during a marriage is presumed to be the child of the husband; or (2) establishment through the Florida courts in the form of an Establishment of Paternity case. Paternity provides rights to both a child and the parents of the child.

Through Paternity a Child is Entitled to:

  • Information on family medical history
  • Support and health insurance, if available, from the parent
  • Certain relational benefits such as military allowance or social security

Paternity Gives Both Parents a Right to:

  • Get a child support order
  • Get a court order for shared time with the child

Paternity provides rights to both the child and the parent. Holiday, who has been supporting Broward County Family Law for close to three decades, is here to help.

Paternity law protects both the child and the parent. When a child is not the product of a marriage, paternity can be established in four different ways: (1) both parties agree to paternity by signing an acknowledgement of paternity; (2) paternity is ordered after a genetic test establishes the father; (3) a judge provides a court order of paternity; or (4) the couple gets married after the child is born and provides an updated birth record to establish paternity.

Where paternity is contested, either the mother of a child, or any man who has reason to believe that he is the father of a child, may bring a petition to establish paternity before the Florida courts. Both parties will be required to attend a hearing to present evidence regarding paternity, and the judge may order genetic testing of all involved parties. If an alleged father refuses to participate in these proceedings, a court may choose to make him the “default” legal father in his absence, which will require him to pay child support, if requested by the mother.

Additionally, any male who believes he has fathered a child outside of marriage may also file with the Florida Putative Father Registry in order to place his parental rights on record. This registry requires the alleged father to consent to potential DNA testing and to state his willingness to support the child, but in exchange, the alleged father must be contacted if the child is to be put up for adoption.

Contesting Paternity

In contrast to establishing paternity, a paternity petition may also be used to contest an allegation of paternity when a male believes that he is not the father of a child. This petition must be served on any current legal guardian of the child and must include an affidavit from the father alleging that he is not the biological father of the child and that new evidence supports his contention. As with establishing paternity, a disestablishment of paternity will typically rely on the results of genetic testing.

Supporting You Through Paternity Issues

Whether you are seeking to establish paternity for a child conceived outside of marriage or are contesting an assertion of paternity that you believe to be untrue, South Florida family law attorney Holiday Russell has the knowledge and experience to assist you. Mr. Russell understands the challenges you face in bringing a paternity action, and can provide you with the assertive advocacy you deserve in order to protect your rights. If you have questions about paternity in Florida, contact Holiday Hunt Russell PLLC for a confidential consultation at 954-920-5153 or online.

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