As a father in Florida, you may have to assert your rights if you did not marry the mother of your child before their birth. Married fathers have a presumption of paternity, meaning they are automatically included on the birth certificate. However, fathers not married to the mothers of their children have to take extra steps before the state will acknowledge their paternity.
Fathers can sign paperwork at the hospital after the birth with the mother to have their name added to the birth certificate. Both parents can also cooperate later to voluntarily acknowledge the father’s paternity and have his name added to the birth certificate and other crucial documents retroactively.
If the mother is not cooperative, however, the father will have to ask the Florida courts for testing so he can establish paternity and seek parenting time or visitation. What if the mother of your child claims the test is invasive and refuses to cooperate?
Modern genetic testing is not invasive
Some parents will go to extreme lengths to protect their children from discomfort or trauma. Not wanting to submit a child terrified of needles to a blood draw is somewhat reasonable, but no blood is necessary for modern genetic testing.
The paternity testing system used in Florida and elsewhere relies on a swab of the inside of the cheek. The process is both fast and painless. Additionally, when properly administered, these tests are extremely accurate. To increase the accuracy of the results, Florida requires that the mother, child and father all undergo testing in most paternity cases.
If you have to initiate paternity proceedings to assert your rights as a child’s father, it’s wise to have an experienced attorney at your side.