If you are a father of a child but have not signed the birth certificate or acknowledged paternity, then you may need to prove paternity before you can seek custody. When two people are not married at the time of their child’s birth, it is not automatically assumed that the man is the father even when he is.
In Florida, there is no preference given to mothers in terms of who gets more custody, but that only applies when a father has been legally established. As a father, it is important that you take steps to establish your biological relationship to your child. By doing that, you’ll be able to guarantee the opportunity to seek parenting time with your child if you and your partner split up.
Should you seek a DNA test?
If you or the mother have questions about who the father of the child is, then it’s important to seek a DNA test. Otherwise, you can voluntarily acknowledge paternity if the mother of your child agrees to sign the documents as well.
If you do want to get a DNA test and the mother agrees, you’ll need to have blood drawn or a swab taken. Your child will need to have this done, too. Then, the results will come back and let you know the likelihood that you are the father.
If the mother does not want to agree to the test you might want to consider speaking with your attorney to get a court order.
How accurate are DNA tests?
DNA tests for paternity are extremely accurate. They are around 99% accurate, though there are exceptions that may throw off the test. For example, samples that have been tampered with could be inaccurate, as could DNA test results for twins, triplets or others with similar or identical DNA patterns. In those cases, additional testing may need to be performed to identify the biological father of the child.
If you’re interested in DNA testing, it’s a good idea to ask. If the mother of your child is willing to have the test done, then you can do so at your convenience and submit the results to the court.