Disestablishing Paternity in Florida

by Maanami from Lebanon, Pennsylvania

My fiance has mild-moderate retardation.

An ex girlfriend of his had him sign the birth certificate of a child she later stated was not his.

Following this incident, another man has claimed to be the child's father.

Since the child has been born, My fiance's ex has sued him in court for support.

My fiance owes back and current support to date. When my fiance challenged the paternity of this child before a hearing officer, his case was dismissed because he signed the birth certificate and now needs an attorney.

The case, along with the ex girlfriend reside in Florida. My fiance and I live in Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania does not have any criteria when challenging paternity once a birth certificate is signed, while Florida does.

Our legal services here does not handle child support cases. We were directed to our local domestic relations office, who has, no jurisdiction over this situation. My fiance cannot afford an attorney. Is this situation totally irreversible? We really need to know where to begin.

Answer to Florida Child Support Question

Dear Manaami,

Florida Supreme Court Form 12.983(e), Motion for Scientific Paternity Testing can be found on the Supreme Court's website, www.flcourts.org.

Instructions for the Motion for Scientific Paternity Testing form state in part: This form should be used when the mother or alleged father wants the court to order a scientific paternity test to determine the paternity of a minor child(ren).

The signing of an Acknowledgment of Paternity by the alleged father names him as the legal father. That status as legal father creates a rebuttable presumption, since he admitted to paternity then the state will accept that at face value, unless he disputes it (rebuts it).

Florida Statutes address disestablishment of paternity as follows. Please note that all of the conditions must be met:

742.18 Disestablishment of paternity or termination of child support obligation.--

(2) The court shall grant relief on a petition filed in accordance with subsection (1) upon a finding by the court of all of the following:

(a) Newly discovered evidence relating to the paternity of the child has come to the petitioner's knowledge since the initial paternity determination or establishment of a child support obligation.

(b) The scientific test required in paragraph (1)(b) was properly conducted.

(c) The male ordered to pay child support is current on all child support payments for the applicable child or that the male ordered to pay child support has substantially complied with his child support obligation for the applicable child and that any delinquency in his child support obligation for that child arose from his inability for just cause to pay the delinquent child support when the delinquent child support became due.

(d) The male ordered to pay child support has not adopted the child.

(e) The child was not conceived by artificial insemination while the male ordered to pay child support and the child's mother were in wedlock.

f) The male ordered to pay child support did not act to prevent the biological father of the child from asserting his paternal rights with respect to the child.

(g) The child was younger than 18 years of age when the petition was filed.

If all of these conditions are met, you can use our Petition Preparer service to have all your documents professionally prepared. Just ask us for a free quote and mention that you would like a complete Disestablishment of Paternity Documents Preparation Package. Have a look at our Disestablishment of Paternity page for more information.

Notice: We provide these answers to the general public and our website visitors as a means to further their online legal research. These answers are merely suggestions and should not be regarded as legal advice.

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