Meriwether & Tharp ranked as one of the nation's fastest growing private companies for the 2nd Year in a row by Inc. 5000!!

Thanks for printing!  Don't forget to come back to Meriwether & Tharp, LLC for fresh articles!

Paternity Filed by Mother

Paternity actions are generally brought by the mother to establish and obtain child support. Any woman who is pregnant or has a child, may bring a paternity action to determine the paternity of the child when paternity has not been established by law or otherwise. The process to determine, modify, or enforce child support for illegitimate children generally follow the same principles as those for legitimate children.

When do Mothers Bring Paternity Actions?

Often when the alleged father denies his status as the biological father, the mother will bring a Paternity Action. In a Petition for Paternity, the mother may ask the court to establish paternity, time sharing schedule, and child support of a minor child(ren). The petition should be filed with the circuit court clerk and the father must be notified of the petition. Once a paternity action has been filed and the father has been served with a copy of it, the father has 20 days to respond to the petition by filing an answer. If the answer is not filed within the appropriate time period, the matter will be in default and the court may grant the mother the relief that she requested. Thus, it is imperative for any parent who is served with a paternity action to respond in a timely manner to the petition, especially if paternity is contested. If the father files an answer and agrees with everything in the mother’s petition for paternity, the mother may set a time for a final hearing with the clerk of court. The mother and father may then enter into a voluntary acknowledgement of paternity which will constitute a legal determination of paternity just as if an order of paternity was entered by a court. If the father files an answer that disagrees with anything in the mother’s petition for paternity, the mother should then file a Notice for Trial and commence the declaratory judgment action to adjudicate his paternity.

Evidence

In the event paternity is contested, the party seeking the paternity order may support his or her allegations with the following types of evidence: 1) testimony of the mother and/or the father; 2) the testimony of an expert regarding the time of conception; and, 3) the results of a legally admissible genetic or DNA tests.

DNA tests will typically be conducted in a lab and evidence will be gathered from cheek swab DNA samples of the mother, child, and alleged father. The DNA will be compared to show whether that the alleged father is the child’s biological father. Results that show a statistical probability of 95% or higher create a rebuttable presumption of paternity for the alleged father.  “If a party fails to rebut the presumption of paternity which arose from the statistical probability of paternity of 95 percent or more, the court may enter a summary judgment of paternity.” If there is a DNA match between the father and child, the Department of Revenue will issue an Administrative Order of Paternity and notify the Florida Office of Vital Statistics to add the father’s name to the birth certificate.

Additionally, the mother may demonstrate the alleged father’s paternity through other evidence outside of the blood test. For example, if the mother has routinely recognized and stated under oath that the child is the natural child of the alleged father or has accepted financial support for the child from the alleged father over a period of years, this may be helpful evidence in establishing paternity. 

 

Locations

Primary Office Locations

By Appointment Only

Contact M&T Today

We can help with all your questions...