01/02/13 18:54 Filed in: Family Law
The Role of DNA tests (Paternity Tests)The Florida legislature passed a law in 2006 regulating disestablishment of paternity and termination child support (Florida Statute 742.18). In plain English, the law governs when a man can terminate his paternity of a minor child when the man is not the biological father of the minor child, and as a related matter when he can terminate his child support obligation when he is not the biological father of the minor child.
Among other issues, the law regulates the use of DNA tests (also referred to as paternity tests) to prove a man is not the biological father of a minor child.
In summary, in regard to DNA tests (paternity tests), the law provides that if a man learns through a DNA test that he is not the biological father of a minor child, then he must file suit for the Disestablishment of Paternity within 90 days of the test results.
Furthermore, courts have interpreted this law to mean that if the man does not file suit in 90 days he loses his right to disestablish paternity even though he is not the biological father of the minor child. (see the case of Aulet v. Castro, 44 So. 3d 140 (Fla. 3rd DCA 2010) ).
So, what does this mean in the real world for a man who believes he is not the biological father of the minor child?
That man should be ready to hire a family law attorney immediately after DNA tests results show that he is not the biological father of the minor child.
Furthermore that man should make sure that his attorney is aware of the DNA test results, and the date of the DNA test, and that the 90 day period is running.
Obviously these legal issues impact the heart of the family unit, and must be handled with dignity and respect. But on the other hand, when a DNA test shows with scientific and statistical certainty beyond a shadow of a doubt that a man is not the biological father of minor child, then that man must take action in 90 days or forever hold his peace, and of course, be prepared to pay child support for 18 years for child that is not his.