Until recently, legal challenges to paternity which were not promptly filed were denied, in the best interests of the child in question.
A concerted hue and cry from father’s rights groups has diverted focus from the best interests of the child to the catchphrase paternity fraud.
As a result of the diversion, this year the Florida legislature passed a statute permitting alleged fathers to prove scientifically that they are not the biological fathers of their alleged children. Accordingly, they will be able to avoid any future child support legal obligations and just “drop” their alleged child.
It is projected that the statute might let about 30% of alleged fathers off the child support “hook”.
The lynchpin of establishing or disestablishing paternity is DNA testing, which is generally inexpensive and reliable.
The new statute does impose certain restrictions on its availability to support a paternity challenge, however.
- The alleged father cannot have acknowledged paternity, signed the baby’s birth certificate, adopted the child or otherwise voluntarily assumed responsibility for child support for the child after discovering that they are not biologically related.
- The alleged father cannot have previously blocked the true biological father from assuming parental responsibility.
- The alleged father cannot have ignored previous notices or orders to take a DNA test in connection with legal proceedings concerning the child.
- The alleged father must be current on his legally established child support obligations (unless truly unable).
- The challenge must result from new evidence coming to light.