Paternity, Unwed and Unmarried Parents, North Palm Beach, FL

In a paternity proceeding, a child born during an intact marriage is presumed to be the child of the man to whom the biological mother was married. In CG v. J.R. & J.R., the Florida Court of Appeal recently stated: “… [T]his is…a case wherein the biological mother- while married to her husband-became pregnant by another man and wherein both fathers claim parental rights to the child. The fact that C.G.’s DNA test results established that he was H.G.-R.’s biological father is “legally insignificant” for purposes of establishing parental rights. See Slowinski v. Sweeney, 117 So.3d 73, 78 (Fla. 1st DCA 2013). 

“The Florida Supreme Court has defined the ‘legal father’ as the man to whom the mother was married when the child was born and whose name appears on the birth certificate ” Id. (citing Dep’t of Health & Rehabilitative Servs. v. Privette, 617 So. 2d 305; 307 (Fla. 1993))…In G.F. C., the court was tasked with deciding whether a trial court properly dismissed a biological father’s petition to establish paternity where the child was born during the biological mother’s intact marriage to a man who was not the biological father. The court noted that at common law, a child born during an intact marriage was presumed to be the child of the man to whom the biological mother was married and that the common law presumption of legitimacy remained. 686 So. 2d at 1384 (citing Privette,617 So. 2d at 307)…This is not a case where either the biological father or the legal father has abandoned the child. Nor is this a case where either father failed to demonstrate a strong desire to be a part of the child’s life or even the ability to care for the child. Rather, this is one of those cases presenting the unfortunate circumstance of a child who was born into a legally intact marriage but who was conceived as the result of an extramarital affair. The consequence of that circumstance is that the third party, here C.G., has an interest in that child which is adverse to the legal father, here J.R. We are cognizant of the gravity of our decision and the legal ramification that it has on C.G.’s and H.G.-R.’s relationship. However, under the facts of this case, there is simply no support in Florida law for the proposition that H.G.-R. is entitled to have two legally recognized fathers.

To speak with a divorce attorney in North Palm Beach, Florida, contact Matthew Lane & Associates, P.A. at (561) 328-1111.

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