Whether you are attempting to establish paternity, or have found out that you are not the biological father of a child you believed to be yours, you will be required to file one or more of the Florida family law forms which relate to establishment and disestablishment of paternity. Should you wish to terminate your child support obligations or disestablish paternity, you will use Florida family law form 12.951(a) Petition to Disestablish Paternity and/or Terminate Child Support Obligation and Florida family law form 12.951(b) Order Disestablishing Paternity and/or Terminating Child Support Obligation.
You will file the Petition to Disestablish Paternity and/or Terminate Child Support Obligation with the court clerk in the court which has jurisdiction over your case; if the mother of the child no longer resides in the state of Florida, you will file your Petition in the county in which you live. You will be required to attach copies of any judgments or orders you have received in the past regarding the award of child support or regarding your paternity. You will be required to prove that the child is not biologically yours, and will attach scientific test results showing that fact to your Petition.
Your petition to Disestablish Paternity and/or Terminate Child Support Obligation must be served on the mother (or legal guardian) of the child in question, through personal service. If you are unable to locate the mother or legal guardian, you may be able to serve through publication, which is known as constructive service. In order to be eligible for constructive service, you will be required to show the court you have exhausted every avenue to find the mother or legal guardian and you will be required to follow all Florida family law rules of publication. The child or children in question must be younger than age 18 when the original Petition is filed, and the petitioner must additionally meet the following requirements:
1) The petitioner must not have acknowledged paternity in a sworn statement.
2) The petitioner must not have made a voluntary promise in writing to support the child or
3) The petitioner must not have disregarded any written notification received from a state agency
or court directing him to submit to scientific testing.
4) The petitioner must not have consented to be named as the biological father of the child or
children on the birth certificates.
5) The petitioner must not have married the mother of the child or children while known as the
assumed father, voluntarily assuming parental obligations and duties associated with
6) The petitioner must not have signed a voluntary acknowledgement of paternity.
If the court approves your Petition to Disestablish Paternity and/or Terminate Child Support Obligation, you must file an Order to Disestablish Paternity and/or Terminate Child Support Obligation with the court clerk. This Order must also be served on the mother or legal guardian of the child or children in question.
It is much more common that mothers or fathers are attempting to establish paternity rather than disestablish paternity. If you want the court to establish paternity, a time-sharing schedule and/or child support for a child you will use Florida family law form 12.983(a) Petition to Determine Paternity and for Related Relief. After filing your petition, you must notify the respondent through personal or constructive service. You will have the sheriff’s department or a private process server serve the respondent if you know where the person is located. If the respondent lives out of the state of Florida, or you do not know where he or she resides, you must serve through publication, following all Florida rules of service.
Once the respondent has been served, he or she has twenty days in which to file an answer to your petition with Florida family law form 12.983(b) Answer to Petition to Determine Paternity and for Related Relief. If no answer has been filed within twenty days, you may file a Motion for Default and ask that a hearing be scheduled. Should the respondent have no disagreement with your original Petition, and you have complied with all mandatory disclosure, your Petition will be uncontested and you will request a hearing. If the respondent files a counter-petition–12.983(c) Answer to Petition and Counterpetition to Determine Paternity and for Related Relief—then you will be required to file Florida family law form 12.983(d) Answer to Counterpetition. The answer is used to admit or deny allegations, while the counterpetition is used to ask the court what you want them to do for you.
When it Becomes Necessary to Obtain Scientific Paternity Testing Results
When there are disagreements regarding paternity, it may be necessary to order a scientific paternity test. Florida family law form 12.983(e) Motion for Scientific Paternity Testing must be filed in order to request such a test. Once the results of the test are in, you will file 12.983(f) Order on Motion for Scientific Paternity Testing. This form states that the Court has jurisdiction over the parties and subject matter of the action, asks for specific information and allocates the cost of the testing to the Respondent or Petitioner. Finally, Florida family law 12.983(g) Final Judgment of Paternity will be filed. This form will state that the court has found the man in question is the biological father of the child or children listed. The form will further note whether parental responsibility and a parenting plan have been mutually agreed upon.
If a parenting plan is in place, it will be attached to the Final Judgment of Paternity. Section II of the Final Judgment of Paternity governs child support. The court will determine the amount of child support to be paid from one parent to the other until the minor child or children has reached the age of 18 (or 19 if the child has not yet graduated from high school).The form will set forth how health and dental insurance for the child or children will be split between the parents, and whether any retroactive child support is ordered. The form sets forth whether parents will provide life insurance naming the child or children as beneficiaries and which parent will claim the child or children for income tax purposes. If the children’s names are to be changed, it will be noted on the Final Judgment of Paternity, and, finally, how fees related to the lawsuit will be allocated will be determined by the court.
When You Need Help Establishing or Disestablishing Paternity
You can file the above paperwork on your own, or you can seek experienced help from an attorney at The Law Place. Our attorneys have been practicing Florida family law for over two decades and have the level of skill and knowledge which can help you through the difficulty of filing a lawsuit. Our attorneys ensure all required paperwork is filed in a timely, professional manner, and keep you informed as to the progress of your lawsuit. If you want to avoid the time, energy and stress associated with filing your own lawsuit, call The Law Place today.