Establishing Paternity in Department of Revenue Child Support Cases

The Florida Department of Revenue may intervene in child support cases to ensure that a minor child is receiving the care and support he or she is entitled to by law. Paternity is presumed when a husband and wife have a child within the bonds of marriage. However, if the parents are not married, the Department of Revenue may still collect child support from a father who may or may not be the actual biological father of a child.

A father may contest paternity, but the courts will always look to what is in the best interests of the child “[T]he courts require a determination of the child’s best interests. Some circumstances require specific procedures to be followed in evaluating a child’s best interests. For example, if paternity is contested, the child’s legitimacy is at issue, and the legal father has not had notice or an opportunity to be heard, the trial court is required to appoint a guardian ad litem and hear from the guardian and all the parties before proceeding.”

“A trial court may consider the child’s need for support. If the court determines that there is no compelling interest in overcoming the presumption, it must dismiss the paternity action against the putative father.”

The state has an interest in preserving parental rights, but also in ensuring that children are supported. Because of this, the court will look to the best interest of the children in any case involving minor children and family law.

See Dept. of Revenue on behalf of Garcia v. Iglesias & Garcia, 37 Fla. L. Weekly D160.

Patricia Dills is an Attorney with Martin Law Firm, P.L., whose practice
focuses in Divorce, Child Support, Family Law, and Civil Litigation. She
primarily practices in Naples, Collier County, and Fort Myers, Lee County Florida.