The Rights of Unmarried Parents - Florida

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Definitions

Citation: Ann. Stat. §§ 39.01; 63.062; 409.256(1)(g)

The term 'legal father' means a person married to the birth parent at the time of conception or birth of their child, unless parentage has been otherwise determined by a court of competent jurisdiction. If the birth parent was not married to a person at the time of birth or conception of the child, the term means a person named on the child's birth certificate pursuant to § 382.013(2), a person determined by a court order to be the other parent of the child, or a person determined to be the father of the child by the Department of Revenue as provided in § 409.256.

Written consent to adoption must be executed by the other parent of the minor if any of the following apply:

  • The minor was conceived or born while the parents were married to each other.
  • The child was adopted by the person.
  • The minor has been established by a court proceeding to be the child of the parent.
  • The person has filed an affidavit of parentage pursuant to § 382.013(2)(c), or they are listed on the child's birth certificate before the date a petition for termination of parental rights is filed.
  • In the case of an unmarried other parent, they have acknowledged in writing, signed in the presence of a competent witness, being the parent of the minor; has filed such acknowledgment with the Office of Vital Statistics of the Department of Health within the required timeframes; and has complied with all requirements.

The term 'putative father' means an individual who is or may be the biological other parent of a child whose parentage has not been established and whose birth parent was unmarried when the child was conceived and born.

Use of Parentage Registries

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 63.054

The Department of Health shall establish and maintain a Florida Putative Father Registry through its Office of Vital Statistics.

To preserve the right to notice and consent to an adoption under this chapter, an unmarried biological parent must, as the 'registrant,' file a notarized claim of parentage form with the Florida Putative Father Registry. They shall include therein confirmation of their willingness and intent to support the child for whom parentage is claimed in accordance with State law.

The claim of parentage may be filed at any time prior to the child's birth, but a claim of parentage may not be filed after the date a petition is filed for termination of parental rights. In each proceeding for termination of parental rights, the petitioner shall submit to the office a copy of the petition for termination of parental rights or a document executed by the clerk of the court showing the names of the persons whose rights are sought to be terminated and the date and time of the filing of the petition. The office may not record a claim of parentage after the date that a petition for termination of parental rights is filed. The failure of an unmarried other parent to file a claim of parentage with the registry before the date a petition for termination of parental rights is filed also bars them from filing a parentage claim under chapter 742.

By filing a claim of parentage form with the office, the registrant expressly consents to submit to DNA testing upon the request of any party, the registrant, or the adoption entity with respect to the child referenced in the claim of parentage.

Alternate Means to Establish Parentage

Citation: Ann. Stat. §§ 742.10; 409.256

Procedures for the determination of parentage for children born out of wedlock include the following:

  • The establishment of parentage at an adjudicatory hearing
  • An affidavit acknowledging parentage or a stipulation of parentage that is executed by both parties and filed with the clerk of the court
  • An affidavit or voluntary acknowledgment of parentage that is executed by both parties
  • Parentage that is adjudicated by the Department of Revenue

An adjudication or acknowledgment constitutes the establishment of parentage. If no adjudicatory proceeding was held, a notarized voluntary acknowledgment of parentage or a voluntary acknowledgment of parentage that is witnessed by two individuals and signed under penalty of perjury shall create a rebuttable presumption of parentage.

The Department of Revenue shall commence a proceeding to determine parentage by serving the respondent with a notice as provided in this section. An order to appear for genetic testing may be served at the same time.

If the results of the genetic test indicate a statistical probability of parentage that equals or exceeds 99 percent, the department may issue a proposed order of parentage that the respondent may consent to or contest at an administrative hearing. If parentage is established, the other parent may file a petition in circuit court for a determination of matters relating to custody and rights of parental contact.

The department shall send a copy of the genetic testing results to the child's parents, to the caregiver, and to another State, if applicable. If the genetic testing results, including second or subsequent genetic testing results, do not indicate a statistical probability of parentage that equals or exceeds 99 percent, the parentage proceeding in connection with that child shall cease.

Required Information

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 63.054

The claim of parentage form shall be signed by the unmarried other parent and must include the following:

  • The name, address, date of birth, and physical description of the other parent
  • The name, address, date of birth, and physical description of the birth parent
  • The date, place, and location of conception of the child, if known
  • The name, date, and place of birth of the child or estimated date of birth of the expected child, if known

The claim of parentage form shall be signed under oath by the registrant.

Revocation of Claim to Parentage

Citation: Ann. Stat. §§ 63.054; 742.10

The registrant may, at any time prior to the birth of the child for whom parentage is claimed, execute a notarized written revocation of the claim of parentage previously filed with the Florida Putative Father Registry. Upon receipt of such revocation, the claim of parentage shall be deemed null and void.

If a court determines that a registrant is not the other parent of the minor or has no parental rights, the court shall order the Department of Health to remove the registrant's name from the registry.

A voluntary acknowledgment of parentage 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.

After the 60-day period, a signed voluntary acknowledgment of parentage shall constitute an establishment of parentage and may be challenged in court based only on 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.

Access to Information

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 63.0541

All information contained in the Florida Putative Father Registry is confidential and exempt from public disclosure, except as otherwise provided in this section. Information made confidential and exempt by this section shall be disclosed to the following:

  • An adoption entity, upon the filing of a request for a diligent search of the Florida Putative Father Registry in connection with the planned adoption of a child
  • The registrant unmarried other parent, upon receipt of notarized request for a copy of their registry entry only
  • The birth parent, upon receipt of a notarized request for a copy of any registry entry in which they are identified as the birth parent
  • The court, upon issuance of a court order concerning a petitioner acting pro se in an action under this chapter

The database comprising the Florida Putative Father Registry shall remain separate from all other databases.