Written By: Lenorae C. Atter, Attorney
Wood, Atter & Wolf, P.A.
In Florida, unmarried fathers have to establish paternity and parental rights through the court system by filing a Petition to Establish Paternity. Florida paternity is strictly defined by Florida statute, which also states a strong presumption that a child born during a marriage is the child of the husband. The court looks at the husband as being the legal father of the child and there is no cause of action that can be brought by the biological father to fight the presumption. What this means is that if you are the biological father of a child that is born during the mother’s marriage, and you are not the husband, then you have no way of getting rights to your child.
However, Florida Statute also provides for the disestablishment of paternity and the husband can disestablish his legal rights to the child. In order to do that, the legal father must file a Petition to Disestablish Parental Rights. Once that is done, the biological father can then proceed with his action to establish paternity and parental rights.
If you have this type of situation, you should speak with a family law attorney to assist you because the statute is strict on how to proceed.