Can A Father Require a Paternity Test?

In a paternity action, a father cannot require tnity-test.jpghe child to take a paternity test unless the father contests the fact that he is the father in his pleadings or in his testimony. In D.O.R. ex rel Corbitt v. Alletag, the father signed an affidavit of paternity. When the Department of Revenue filed an action for child support, the father filed an answer in which he disagreed with the allegations in the Department of Revenue’s petition and requested that a paternity test be held to determine whether he was in fact the father. The matter was heard by a Child Support Hearing Officer. At the hearing the father admitted that he signed the birth certificate, but asserted that he did so because he was the only male present at the hospital when the child was born. The father requested that a DNA test be performed. The trial court affirmed the Child Support Hearing Officer’s recommendation that a DNA test be performed. The Florida Court of Appeal overruled the trial court and held that merely alleging that the father is unsure that he is the father is insufficient.

The court stated that the question of paternity is not placed in controversy by a father unless he asserts in his answer or in his testimony that he is not the child’s biological father. This is especially true when the father admits at the hearing that he signed the child’s birth certificate as the child’s father. Paternity is placed in controversy if the alleged father files papers alleging that he is not the father or asserts that he has not acknowledged his fatherhood in an affidavit. The Court of Appeal stated that the ground asserted by the father in support of his request for paternity testing-to be 100% sure that he is the child’s biological father-was insufficient as a matter of law to put paternity in controversy. A father’s wish for a DNA test to be sure that he is the father does not place paternity in controversy.

To speak with a lawyer for unwed parents in Boynton Beach, Florida, contact Matthew Lane & Associates, P.A. at (561) 363-3400.