Why Your Petition to Disestablish Paternity Could be Denied
When a child’s legal father who is paying child support learns new information relating to the paternity of the child, it is not uncommon for that individual to begin the process of disestablishing paternity, which starts with the filing of a petition with the court. If the request is granted, the child’s father would be relieved of his legal obligation to continue to pay child support, although he would not be entitled to a refund of past payments. Not all fathers who find out that they are not the biological parent of a child take this route, but those who do should strongly consider speaking with an experienced paternity and fathers’ rights attorney who can ensure that their petition is filed correctly and with the proper court.
Filing a Petition to Disestablish Paternity
Before a father can disestablish his paternity of a child, he must first submit a petition to the court that includes:
- An affidavit explaining that the petitioner recently discovered new evidence related to the paternity of the child that was not previously available;
- The results of a scientific test demonstrating a lack of paternity that was administered within 90 days before the filing of the petition, or an affidavit stating that the petitioner didn’t have access to the child in order to perform scientific testing; and
- An affidavit explaining that the petitioner is current on all child support obligations, or that he has substantially complied with the child support order and that any late payments or debts arose from a legitimate inability to pay.
Even if these requirements are fulfilled, however, a father’s request will only be granted if the court determines that the evidence presented by the father as to his paternity was newly discovered, the scientific DNA test was properly conducted, and:
- The father ordered to pay child support had not legally adopted the child;
- The child wasn’t conceived by artificial insemination while the child’s father and mother were married;
- The child is under the age of 18 years old; and
- The petitioner didn’t act to prevent the child’s biological father from asserting his parental rights.
Reasons that a Court Would Deny a Petition
In most cases, when a father meets all of the court’s requirements when filing a petition to disestablish paternity, he will be granted his request, which in turn, results in the severing of the legal father-child bond. However, this does not mean that all petitions are granted, even when the father remained current on child support payments and provided information as requested by the court. For instance, some courts are unwilling to grant a request to disestablish paternity if the petitioner married the child’s mother and voluntarily assumed the parental obligation to pay child support after learning that he was not the child’s biological parent. Similarly, courts are often unwilling to disestablish paternity if:
- The legal father acknowledged his paternity in a sworn statement;
- The petitioner was named on the child’s birth certificate;
- The child’s legal father signed a voluntary statement of paternity;
- The petitioner ignored a court order to submit to genetic testing; or
- The petitioner voluntarily promised to support the child in writing.
Contact Our Legal Team Today
To speak with an experienced Fort Lauderdale paternity and fathers’ rights attorney about your questions and legal options, please contact Sandra Bonfiglio, P.A. at 954-945-7591 today.