Does DNA Entitle a Husband to Deny Child Support to His Wife’s Child?
It might surprise many people to know, that in Florida if you are married and your spouse has a child that is from an extra-marital affair, the husband under presumption of Florida law is considered the legal biological father.
Florida Law on Support of Non Biological Children can be best handles by Tampa family law attorney Nilo J Sanchez and Associates. Our Tampa Bay family law firm can represent you in a case to disestablish paternity and terminate child support obligations in Florida.
Florida’s presumption of legitimacy
The fact that the parties were married when the child was conceived establishes paternity under Florida’s presumption of legitimacy law, making the “husband” legally bound to and financially responsible for this child. According to family law and the Florida statutes, a father would be ordered to pay child support until the child reaches the age of 18, or until emancipated.
Can’t the mother tell the courts it’s not your biological child?
Yes and No. The child’s mother, even if by her own admission that the child isn’t the husband’s biological child, cannot simply release her spouse from the financial responsibility or legal guardian. A petition for disestablishment of paternity must be filed with the Florida court that has jurisdiction over the child to determine whether the “father” will be released from the obligation of child support or not. Florida Statutes states, “If the child support obligation was determined administratively and has not been ratified by a court, then the petition must be filed in the circuit court where the mother or legal guardian or custodian resides.” In other words, if the child resides in Hillsborough County, Florida, you would have to file the petition for disestablishment of paternity in that jurisdiction. There may be other legal requirements that an attorney may need to assist you with depending on your individual case.
Petition for Disestablishment of Paternity
Public policy in Florida dictates “that the ‘legal father’ of any child born of a married woman must be that woman’s husband unless a paternity action has been resolved prior to the child’s birth.” Incorporated into Section 382.013(2)(a) Florida Statutes, states, “If the mother is married at the time of birth, the name of the husband shall be entered on the birth certificate as the father of the child, unless paternity has been determined otherwise by a court of competent jurisdiction.” This means that in Florida, a paternity action can and must be filed before a child is born to a woman in an intact marriage whose husband is not the biological father of the child.
What if I just found out I am not the father of my wife’s child?
There are time limits with the Florida Statutes when filing a petition for disestablishment of paternity and terminating child support. Contact Tampa family law attorney for a consultation to find out what your options are.
Case Law: J.S. v. S.M.M, 67 So. 3d 1231, 1232 (Fla. 2nd DCA 2011).