How to Contest Paternity
by Rory from Titusville, Florida, Brevard County
How do I contest paternity? I have a summons for child support.
I know for a fact that one child isn't mine and the other may not be.
I need to ask the court for a paternity test. How do I go about that?
Answer to Florida Child Support Question
You don't say whether you are or were married to the mother.
If you were married, then there is a legal presumption that you are the father.
You can dispute that presumption.
If you were not married did you sign an acknowledgment of paternity form?
Is your name on the birth certificate(s)?
Did you live with the mother and children as a family? For how long?
The form that you are looking for can be found on the Florida Supreme Court website at www.flcourts.org, Form 12.983(e) Motion for Scientific Paternity Testing.
The Florida Statutes that address parentage are within Chapter 742.
742.12 Scientific testing to determine paternity.--
(1) In any proceeding to establish paternity, the court on its own motion may require the child, mother, and alleged fathers to submit to scientific tests that are generally acceptable within the scientific community to show a probability of paternity. The court shall direct that the tests be conducted by a qualified technical laboratory.
(2) In any proceeding to establish paternity, the court may, upon request of a party providing a sworn statement or written declaration as provided by s. 92.525(2) alleging paternity and setting forth facts establishing a reasonable possibility of the requisite sexual contact between the parties or providing a sworn statement or written declaration denying paternity and setting forth facts establishing a reasonable possibility of the nonexistence of sexual contact between the parties, require the child, mother, and alleged fathers to submit to scientific tests that are generally acceptable within the scientific community to show a probability of paternity. The court shall direct that the tests be conducted by a qualified technical laboratory.
(3) The test results, together with the opinions and conclusions of the test laboratory, shall be filed with the court. Any objection to the test results must be made in writing and must be filed with the court at least 10 days prior to the hearing.
If no objection is filed, the test results shall be admitted into evidence without the need for predicate to be laid or third-party foundation testimony to be presented. Nothing in this paragraph prohibits a party from calling an outside expert
witness to refute or support the testing procedure or results, or the mathematical theory on which they are based.
Upon the entry of the order for scientific testing, the court must inform each person to be tested of the procedure and requirements for objecting to the test results and of the consequences of the failure to object.
(4) Test results are admissible in evidence and should be weighed along with other evidence of the paternity of the alleged father unless the statistical probability of paternity equals or exceeds 95 percent.
A statistical probability of paternity of 95 percent or more creates a rebuttable presumption, as defined by s. 90.304, that the alleged father is the biological father of the child.
If a party fails to rebut the presumption of paternity which arose from the statistical probability of paternity of 95 percent or more, the court may enter a summary judgment of paternity.
If the test results show the alleged father cannot be the biological father, the case shall be dismissed with prejudice.
(5) Subject to the limitations in subsection (3), if the test results or the expert analysis of the inherited characteristics is disputed, the court, upon reasonable request of a party, shall order that an additional test be made by the same laboratory or an independent laboratory at the expense of the party requesting additional testing.
(6) Verified documentation of the chain of custody of the blood or other specimens is competent evidence to establish the chain of custody.
(7) The fees and costs for scientific tests shall be paid by the parties in proportions and at times determined by the court unless the parties reach a stipulated agreement which is adopted by the court.
If you were never married to the mother, and you were named as the father and are ordered to pay child support, you may qualify for the disestablishment of paternity procedure. Have a look at our page on Disestablishment of Paternity
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.
If you need legal advice, we recommend LagalMatch's free Lawyer Referral Service. Many lawyers offer free initial consultations. Get the legal advice you deserve.Free Family Lawyer Referral
You Are Here → Home › Child Support FAQs › How to Contest Paternity