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Navigating Florida’s Acknowledgment of Paternity Form: A Comprehensive Guide

florida law
florida law

Navigating Florida’s acknowledgment of paternity form can be challenging. Understanding and correctly executing the Acknowledgment of Paternity form can be a crucial step for parents in Florida, ensuring legal recognition for their child, along with several accompanying benefits. This guide is intended to support parents as they navigate through this legal process, clarifying various elements of the form and associated procedures.


Why Use the Acknowledgment of Paternity Form?


The Acknowledgment of Paternity form serves as an official document that legally establishes a child’s parentage. By signing this form, both parents affirm their roles as the natural parents of the child. This crucial step helps the child and the parents enjoy several benefits:


  • It confirms the child’s identity and sense of security.
  • It guarantees the child’s access to support from both parents.
  • The child can gain access to the father’s medical benefits and medical history information.
  • It ensures the child’s access to survivor’s benefits and rights of inheritance.
  • It legally gives both parents rights to the child.


Completion and Submission


Upon completion, the form should be properly notarized or witnessed and sent to the Bureau of Vital Statistics. It’s essential to provide picture identification for each parent if the form is witnessed. Acceptable forms of identification include a driver’s license, passport, state identification card, or military identification card. Once received, the Bureau will prepare and file a new birth record. Parents are advised to make a copy of the form for their records before submission.


Your Rights and Responsibilities


By signing the Acknowledgment of Paternity form, parents swear they are the child’s natural parents. Following this, either parent has the right to cancel the acknowledgment within 60 days unless a court hearing involving the parent and the child has already occurred. If no court hearing happens within this period, paternity is legally established under Florida law.

Please note that once signed by both parents, the father’s name is added to the child’s birth certificate. Even if the acknowledgment is cancelled within 60 days, the birth certificate can only be changed by a court order.


What You Are Agreeing To


Signing the form implies agreement from both parents. The mother agrees that the signatory is the child’s biological father, while the father confirms he is the biological father and shares responsibility for the child’s financial and medical support until adulthood.


Understanding the Consequences


Signing the Acknowledgment of Paternity indicates that the mother was unwed at the time of the child’s birth, and both signatories are the parents, assuming responsibility as provided by law. After signing and submission, a birth certificate listing both parents will be placed on file.


Alternatives to Signing


In the event where both parents don’t sign the acknowledgment, Florida law allows for paternity to be established by a court order. Such a paternity action may be initiated by the mother, the natural father, the child, or the state. If you believe you need to initiate a paternity action, you should consult with an attorney.


The New Birth Certificate


Parents can decide to change the child’s last name to either the mother’s maiden name, father’s last name, or a combination of both. If the child is less than one year of age, the given name can be changed too. For children over one year of age, any changes other than corrections or omissions require supporting documentary evidence or a court order.


Finally, to process the amendment, a fee of $20.00 is required, which includes one certification. Picture identification must be provided for issuance of the certification.


Navigating the Acknowledgment of Paternity form can be a daunting task. However, with the correct understanding and guidance, it can be a straightforward process that ensures your child’s rights and benefits are protected. For more detailed assistance, you can always reach out to a Family Law attorney or contact the local Department of Revenue Child Support Enforcement Office.


The acknowledgment of paternity form can be found here.