Why are all children born to a married couple presumed legitimate?
The State of Florida has a strong interest is maintaining the legitimacy of children. It is against public policy, and not in the best interest of a child, to be illegitimate. As a result, a child is presumed to be the legal child of a mother and father if they were married at the time of the child’s birth. The only way to legally dispute that presumption is by having a DNA test performed on the father and child. Certainly, the mother can acknowledge that someone else, and not the husband is the father of the child in question, and that would be the end of the controversy. In the absence of that acknowledgement, the father can petition the court to order a biological (DNA) paternity test to confirm parentage, but it may be unlikely such an order will ever be entered.
In keeping with Florida’s desire that children remain legitimate, courts do not favor entering orders that put into question a child’s paternity. In that respect, courts often place a greater priority in maintaining legitimacy of a child by favoring the status of a legal father, many times at the expense of a biological father. The Florida Supreme Court, in Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services v. Privette, 617 So. 2d 305 (Fla. 1993) established the strong Florida public policy that DNA tests to establish that a man other than the legal father of a child is the biological father will not be ordered unless the court determines that it is in the best interest of the child.
Since your interest in this case is a determination that you are not the father, and that determination would result in the child having no legal father and therefore be illegitimate, such determination would not be in the child’s best interest, and against the public policy of the state, and not supported by current Florida law.
The paternity of a child is a complex matter. If you find yourself in a conflict over what your obligations and rights are concerning paternity, you owe it to yourself to obtain advice from a qualified, experienced and compassionate attorney before making a major decision that could have a lifelong impact on the lives of you and your loved ones. Dan Newlin & Partners are exactly those types of attorneys. Call now for free advice on family law, and other legal issues. The call is free, but the advice could be priceless. Call Dan Newlin & Partners now at (407) 888-8000.