paternity family law

Establish and Disestablish Paternity for $200 per hour

I am gender neutral. Men and women hire me. For 32 years one-half of my practice has been paternity and family law.

Florida courts no longer use the words custody or visitation. Child custody is now child timesharing. Children have the right to be cared for, nurtured and raised by both parents. Use the convenient title links and image links below to learn more about child support and child timesharing.

Do not allow your domineering/controlling “ex” convince you not to hire an attorney. You and your children’s immediate and future legal rights could be irreparably harmed if you represent yourself.

Quick Law Review

742.10 Establishment of paternity for children born out of wedlock.—

  • (1) Except as provided in chapters 39 and 63, this chapter provides the primary jurisdiction and procedures for the determination of paternity for children born out of wedlock. If the establishment of paternity has been raised and determined within an adjudicatory hearing brought under the statutes governing inheritance, or dependency under workers’ compensation or similar compensation programs; if an affidavit acknowledging paternity or a stipulation of paternity is executed by both parties and filed with the clerk of the court; if an affidavit, a notarized voluntary acknowledgment of paternity, or a voluntary acknowledgment of paternity that is witnessed by two individuals and signed under penalty of perjury as provided for in s. 382.013 or s. 382.016 is executed by both parties; or if paternity is adjudicated by the Department of Revenue as provided in s. 409.256, such adjudication, affidavit, or acknowledgment constitutes the establishment of paternity for purposes of this chapter. If an adjudicatory proceeding was not held, a notarized voluntary acknowledgment of paternity or voluntary acknowledgment of paternity, which is witnessed by two individuals and signed under penalty of perjury as specified by s. 92.525(2), creates a rebuttable presumption, as defined by s. 90.304, of paternity and is subject to the right of any signatory to rescind the acknowledgment within 60 days after the date the acknowledgment was signed or the date of an administrative or judicial proceeding relating to the child, including a proceeding to establish a support order, in which the signatory is a party, whichever is earlier. Both parents must provide their social security numbers on any acknowledgment of paternity, consent affidavit, or stipulation of paternity. Except for affidavits under seal pursuant to ss. 382.015 and 382.016, the Office of Vital Statistics shall provide certified copies of affidavits to the Title IV-D agency upon request.
  • (2) Pursuant to the federal Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996, each party is required to provide his or her social security number in accordance with this section. Disclosure of social security numbers obtained through this requirement shall be limited to the purpose of administration of the Title IV-D program for child support enforcement.
  • (3) The department shall adopt rules which establish the information which must be provided to an individual prior to execution of an affidavit or voluntary acknowledgment of paternity. The information shall explain the alternatives to, the legal consequences of, and the rights, including, if one parent is a minor, any rights afforded due to minority status, and responsibilities that arise from acknowledging paternity.
  • (4) After the 60-day period referred to in subsection (1), a signed voluntary acknowledgment of paternity shall constitute an establishment of paternity and may be challenged in court only on the basis of fraud, duress, or material mistake of fact, with the burden of proof upon the challenger, and under which the legal responsibilities, including child support obligations of any signatory arising from the acknowledgment may not be suspended during the challenge, except upon a finding of good cause by the court.
  • (5) Judicial or administrative proceedings are not required or permitted to ratify an unchallenged acknowledgment of paternity.
742.18 Disestablishment of paternity or termination of child support obligation.—
(1) This section establishes circumstances under which a male may disestablish paternity or terminate a child support obligation when the male is not the biological father of the child. To disestablish paternity or terminate a child support obligation, the male must file a petition in the circuit court having jurisdiction over the child support obligation. The petition must be served on the mother or other legal guardian or custodian of the child. 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. Such a petition must be served on the Department of Revenue and on the mother or legal guardian or custodian. If the mother or legal guardian or custodian no longer resides in the state, the petition may be filed in the circuit court in the county where the petitioner resides. The petition must include:
(a) An affidavit executed by the petitioner that newly discovered evidence relating to the paternity of the child has come to the petitioner’s knowledge since the initial paternity determination or establishment of a child support obligation.
(b) The results of scientific tests that are generally acceptable within the scientific community to show a probability of paternity, administered within 90 days prior to the filing of such petition, which results indicate that the male ordered to pay such child support cannot be the father of the child for whom support is required, or an affidavit executed by the petitioner stating that he did not have access to the child to have scientific testing performed prior to the filing of the petition. A male who suspects he is not the father but does not have access to the child to have scientific testing performed may file a petition requesting the court to order the child to be tested.
(c) An affidavit executed by the petitioner stating that the petitioner is current on all child support payments for the child for whom relief is sought or that he has substantially complied with his child support obligation for the applicable child and that any delinquency in his child support obligation for that child arose from his inability for just cause to pay the delinquent child support when the delinquent child support became due.
(2) The court shall grant relief on a petition filed in accordance with subsection (1) upon a finding by the court of all of the following:
(a) Newly discovered evidence relating to the paternity of the child has come to the petitioner’s knowledge since the initial paternity determination or establishment of a child support obligation.
(b) The scientific test required in paragraph (1)(b) was properly conducted.
(c) The male ordered to pay child support is current on all child support payments for the applicable child or that the male ordered to pay child support has substantially complied with his child support obligation for the applicable child and that any delinquency in his child support obligation for that child arose from his inability for just cause to pay the delinquent child support when the delinquent child support became due.
(d) The male ordered to pay child support has not adopted the child.
(e) The child was not conceived by artificial insemination while the male ordered to pay child support and the child’s mother were in wedlock.
(f) The male ordered to pay child support did not act to prevent the biological father of the child from asserting his paternal rights with respect to the child.
(g) The child was younger than 18 years of age when the petition was filed.
(3) Notwithstanding subsection (2), a court shall not set aside the paternity determination or child support order if the male engaged in the following conduct after learning that he is not the biological father of the child:
(a) Married the mother of the child while known as the reputed father in accordance with s. 742.091 and voluntarily assumed the parental obligation and duty to pay child support;
(b) Acknowledged his paternity of the child in a sworn statement;
(c) Consented to be named as the child’s biological father on the child’s birth certificate;
(d) Voluntarily promised in writing to support the child and was required to support the child based on that promise;
(e) Received written notice from any state agency or any court directing him to submit to scientific testing which he disregarded; or
(f) Signed a voluntary acknowledgment of paternity as provided in s. 742.10(4).
(4) In the event the petitioner fails to make the requisite showing required by this section, the court shall deny the petition.
(5) In the event relief is granted pursuant to this section, relief shall be limited to the issues of prospective child support payments and termination of parental rights, custody, and visitation rights. The male’s previous status as father continues to be in existence until the order granting relief is rendered. All previous lawful actions taken based on reliance on that status are confirmed retroactively but not prospectively. This section shall not be construed to create a cause of action to recover child support that was previously paid.
(6) The duty to pay child support and other legal obligations for the child shall not be suspended while the petition is pending except for good cause shown. However, the court may order the child support to be held in the registry of the court until final determination of paternity has been made.
(7)(a) In an action brought pursuant to this section, if the scientific test results submitted in accordance with paragraph (1)(b) are provided solely by the male ordered to pay child support, the court on its own motion may, and on the petition of any party shall, order the child and the male ordered to pay child support to submit to applicable scientific tests. The court shall provide that such scientific testing be done no more than 30 days after the court issues its order.
(b) If the male ordered to pay child support willfully fails to submit to scientific testing or if the mother or legal guardian or custodian of the child willfully fails to submit the child for testing, the court shall issue an order determining the relief on the petition against the party so failing to submit to scientific testing. If a party shows good cause for failing to submit to testing, such failure shall not be considered willful. Nothing in this paragraph shall prevent the child from reestablishing paternity under s. 742.10.
(c) The party requesting applicable scientific testing shall pay any fees charged for the tests. If the custodian of the child is receiving services from an administrative agency in its role as an agency providing enforcement of child support orders, that agency shall pay the cost of the testing if it requests the test and may seek reimbursement for the fees from the person against whom the court assesses the costs of the action.
(8) If the relief on a petition filed in accordance with this section is granted, the clerk of the court shall, within 30 days following final disposition, forward to the Office of Vital Statistics of the Department of Health a certified copy of the court order or a report of the proceedings upon a form to be furnished by the department, together with sufficient information to identify the original birth certificate and to enable the department to prepare a new birth certificate. Upon receipt of the certified copy or the report, the department shall prepare and file a new birth certificate that deletes the name of the male ordered to pay child support as the father of the child. The certificate shall bear the same file number as the original birth certificate. All other items not affected by the order setting aside a determination of paternity shall be copied as on the original certificate, including the date of registration and filing. If the child was born in a state other than Florida, the clerk shall send a copy of the report or decree to the appropriate birth registration authority of the state where the child was born. If the relief on a petition filed in accordance with this section is granted and the mother or legal guardian or custodian requests that the court change the child’s surname, the court may change the child’s surname. If the child is a minor, the court shall consider whether it is in the child’s best interests to grant the request to change the child’s surname.
(9) The rendition of an order granting a petition filed pursuant to this section shall not affect the legitimacy of a child born during a lawful marriage.
(10) If relief on a petition filed in accordance with this section is not granted, the court shall assess the costs of the action and attorney’s fees against the petitioner.
(11) Nothing in this section precludes an individual from seeking relief from a final judgment, decree, order, or proceeding pursuant to Rule 1.540, Florida Rules of Civil Procedure, or from challenging a paternity determination pursuant to s. 742.10(4).

More About Paternity

It costs a lot more to hire me to undo poorly drafted paternity agreements you, your spouse or a paralegal draft, than to hire me at the onset.

Florida law does not permit jury trials in paternity cases. I have handled hundreds of paternity related DNA, child support, custody, visitation and timesharing non-jury trials. I have handled hundreds of paternity related temporary relief, contempt, DOR and enforcement hearings.

I appear before each family law judge every week. I know how to prepare you to testify effectively and present you “in the best light” before the Judge.

I am skilled at presenting your testimony and evidence persuasively. I know how to effectively cross examine your “ex” and their witnesses so the judge will not consider them credible or base a decision on false evidence presented by them.

I will explain everything to you in simple terms. I will provide you candid assessment of each possible outcome and associated risk so you can make an informed decision.

Paternity Litigation for $200 per hour

My hourly rate is $200. If you have questions about, desire to file or have been served with a petition or motion to establish or disestablish paternity or to enforce a paternity order, call for a free consultation to discuss the facts of your case and my low-down, pay-as-you-go fees.

Contact Attorney Robert M. Marasco

Rockledge Law Office

Marasco Law Office
208 Hardee Lane
Rockledge, Florida 32955
(P) (321) 631-3476

Cocoa Law Office

Marasco Law Office
550 South Cocoa Blvd
Cocoa, Florida 32922
(P) (321) 433-3476

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