There are all kinds of reasons why a man may not have established paternity when his child was first born. He may have been away on military service, or he might have been unsure about whether the child was his or not. It’s also possible that a man may not have known about a child until later in that child’s life.
Regardless of the situation, it’s possible to establish paternity with a few simple steps in Florida. According to the Florida Department of Revenue, genetic testing is the preferred method of establishing paternity through the court system.
How do you establish paternity?
To start with, if the mother of the child is unmarried, the father will always have to establish paternity in some way. This can be done voluntarily at the hospital when your child is first born if you and the mother agree that the child is yours. If you do not agree, then you may ask for a DNA test. A judge may order this in court, or you can ask that the Florida Department of Revenue does this instead of going to court. Both are acceptable.
Finally, if you plan to marry the mother of your child, you can establish paternity when you apply for a marriage license, even if this is long after your child has left the hospital.
What can you do if the mother doesn’t agree to genetic testing?
If the mother of the child doesn’t agree that a genetic test is necessary but you’d like one, you may need to petition the court and have a judge order the test. This test isn’t painful or difficult, and it may be done with a simple blood test or a swab of the inside of the cheek.
Both the Florida Department of Revenue and the court system have the potential to help parents seek genetic testing. If you aren’t sure that a child is yours, you may want to look into genetic testing before voluntarily agreeing to paternity. This will help protect you and make sure your child has the correct understanding of their heritage.