Establishing paternity is crucial to a child’s well-being from a developmental, financial and medical standpoint. Children require ample emotional and financial support throughout development into adulthood, and they need to be aware of diseases or health issues that they may be prone to as a result of their family’s medical history.
Under Florida law, a child does not have a legal father if the child is born out of wedlock and both parents do not sign an acknowledgment of paternity at the hospital when the child is born. There are various ways, however, of establishing paternity when a child’s father is not listed on the birth certificate.
Genetic testing is one way to have a court acknowledge paternity. Generally, doing a DNA test in Florida is a simple process done by taking a sample of saliva from inside the cheek area of the mouth. Here are the basics about being tested:
- The mother, child and alleged father must show up with proper identification for a genetic test appointment (although not necessarily all at the same time).
- A picture of the child, mother and alleged father are taken for matching the DNA sample with each individual.
- Saliva is collected from the inside cheek of the child, mother and father in question.
- Test results are usually obtained three weeks after the last saliva sample collection is made.
The results are mailed to the mother and alleged father and kept confidentially on file at the Office of Vital Statistics of the Florida Department of Health. If the genetic testing reveals a match, then the father may obtain an administrative order to add his name to the child’s birth certificate without having to go to court.
If you want to be part of your child’s life and have yet to establish paternity, get in touch with a Florida attorney who can help you determine the best course of action.