Establishing parental rights from an extra-marital affair

Attorney Yanique L. Otto

There are many emotional consequences of an extra-marital affair. But, if one of these consequences is a new-born, there are also many legal implications – most of all establishing parental rights for both parties. Because of the high passions involved, this common situation can escalate quickly, where emotional assertions are wrongly confused with the letter of the law.

Consider this situation. You have an affair with a married woman. She gets pregnant, and you believe it’s your child. But she claims that you have no right over the baby, but her husband does.

In this case, she is only partly right. Under Florida Statute §382.013(2)(a), the law state that “if the mother is married at the time of birth, the name of the husband shall be entered on the birth certificate as the father of the child, unless paternity has been determined otherwise by a court of competent jurisdiction.”

This means that when a child is born while the mother is married to man other than the biological father, the husband (at the time of birth) is the presumed legal father. This presumption of legitimacy is meant to protect the welfare of the child. However, this presumption that the mother’s husband is the child’s legal father is rebuttable. An action seeking declaratory relief is a proper method to resolve such an issue.

So here’s the bottom line. If you happen to be in a situation where you’ve gotten a woman pregnant, then later find out that she is actually another man’ wife – you have a very uphill battle ahead in establishing your paternity and enjoying the rights and responsibilities of parenting, such as timesharing, making decisions about your child’s health, education, or even extracurricular activity involvement. This is definitely one of those circumstances you should consider hiring an attorney who knows the law to help you navigate your situation.

Attorney Otto is the lead attorney at The Otto Law Group in Broward County, Florida. She focuses her practice exclusively on Personal Injury and Family Law matters. Call at 1-855-YES-OTTO or email at [email protected].

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