In Florida, children conceived or born during marriage are presumed to be the children of the husband and the wife, and all parental rights and obligations belong to the husband and wife together. However, a child born to a mother and father who are not married is not automatically presumed to be the unmarried father’s child, and all parental rights and obligations, including the right to custody , visitation, and the obligation to support the child, do not automatically belong to the unmarried father.
The purpose of a paternity case in Florida is to determine the natural and legal father of a minor child and to award parental rights. The determination of paternity is extremely important since the court cannot issue an order against the father unless paternity is established.
If paternity of a child is disputed then once a Petition for Paternity is filed either party may request that a DNA testing be conducted to determine the parternity of the child. If paternity is established based upon the outcome of the DNA test, then the parties can proceed to resolve the issues related to a paternity action, i.e., child custody, visitation and child support.