How Does a Paternity DNA Test Work in Florida?
Paternity is the foundation of a man’s parental rights and parental responsibilities in Florida. When an unmarried mother gives birth, paternity is not automatic. Action must be taken to establish paternity. That is not to say that establishing paternity has to be difficult—both parents can simply sign and submit Florida’s Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity form.
Of course, there is sometimes uncertainty (or disagreement) regarding parentage. In many cases, a dispute over paternity can be resolved through genetic testing. This raises an important question: How does the paternity testing process work in Florida? Here, our Tampa paternity lawyers provide a basic overview of genetic testing.
Four Key Steps of the DNA Paternity Testing Process in Florida
- Set Up an Appointment With the Local Child Support Office
Florida’s administrative paternity process is handled by each local child support office. There are dozens of local offices across the state. As an example, there is a child support office in Tampa (6302 E Dr Martin Luther King Jr Blvd). To be clear, you should set up a meeting ahead of time. Do not expect to walk into a child support office and get a genetic test. An appointment should be scheduled.
- Attend the Appointment, Perform the Collection
When possible, the mother, child, and possible father should all attend the appointment together. Make sure you are prepared: You should bring photo identification with you to the child support office. While at the office, another picture will be taken of each person who is being tested. A DNA sample will also be taken. To be clear, there are no needles or blood involved with a genetic paternity test. The test can be completed with a relatively simple cheek swab. Typically, the technicians are able to complete the entire collection process in around 30 minutes.
- Laboratory Assessment: Results are Mailed in Two Weeks
Once the collection process is completed—meaning photographs are taken and a cheek swab is obtained from the child and the alleged father—the genetic material will be sent to a certified laboratory for an assessment. Approximately two weeks after the sample arrives at the lab, the results will be sent by mail to both the mother and the possible father. You cannot call to get paternity results early. They are only sent by mail.
- If Identified, a Final Order of Paternity is Entered
What happens next depends entirely on the results of the test. If the genetic test is not a match, then the man is not the biological father. Paternity will not be established and he will not have parental rights or obligations. On the other hand, if there is a match, a final order of paternity will be entered.
Call Our Tampa Paternity Lawyers for Help
At Bubley & Bubley, P.A., our Florida paternity attorneys are experienced, attentive advocates for parents. If you have questions about DNA tests, we can help. For a completely confidential consultation with an experienced family lawyer, please contact us right away. We represent parents throughout the region, including in Tampa, Town ‘N’ Country, Palm Harbor, Dunedin, Riverview, and Clearwater.