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What 5 ways are used to establish paternity in Florida?

Child custody or support cases could involve the need for establishing paternity, and there are many other reasons you might want to prove someone is the father of your child or children. The state of Florida provides a number of ways for establishing legal paternity, according to the Florida Department of Revenue.

Most people think of genetic testing when they think of proving paternity, and that is an option in the state of Florida. Genetic testing involves comparing cells from the father and the child to determine if there is a DNA match. The state can conduct such tests and will mail results to the mother and alleged father. Once DNA test results confirm paternity, legal paternity can be established via an Administrative Order Based on Genetic Testing.

Genetic testing is not involved in every case. A judge can order paternity in court based on situations or evidence, and an unmarried couple can simply sign an Acknowledgement of Paternity to establish legal paternity. If a couple is married to each other at the time a child is born, then legal paternity is automatically established and the burden of proof would fall the other way: The father would have to contest it through DNA or other evidence if he wanted to disprove paternity for any reason.

If the parents are unmarried at the time the child is born, they can establish legal paternity through the process of legitimization. That means the parents get married and then update the child's birth record, which is done through the state's Office of Vital Statistics.

While a number of options for establishing paternity exist, if you are involved in a legal battle over child support or other matters, seeking third-party advice may be a good idea. A legal professional can point out pros and cons for each options and help you pick the method that is best for your situation.

Source: Florida Department of Revenue, "How Do I Establish Paternity for My Child?" accessed Jan. 21, 2015

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