Fla Supreme Court allows biological father to rebut presumption of legitimacy to child born to intact marriage

The Florida Supreme Court in Simmonds, et.al, v. Perkins (SC17-1963) June 28, 2018. This case has huge implications. Prior to this case a child’s parentage could not be established by a putative or biological father born to a Mother married in an intact marriage. There wee public policy reason to keep intact marriage and families free from unwarranted interference. The biological father in this case was found to have standing to rebut the common law presumption that the mother’s husband is the legal father of a child born to an intact marriage- or the “presumption of legitimacy” – when he has “manifested a substantial and continuing concern” for the welfare of the child. The biological father of a child filed a petition to establish paternity, child support and timesharing. Mother moved to dismiss his petition, arguing it was barred by the common law presumption of legitimacy because she was married at the time of the child’s birth and remained married. The Circuit Court held that 4th DCA precedent required dismissal of the petition as a matter of law. The fourth DCA reversed, concluding the presumption was not applicable with these facts and the Florida Supreme Court Affirmed, holding that the presumption of legitimacy does not create an absolute bar to an action by a biological father to establish parental rights when the child’s mother was married at the time of the child’s birth and both she and her husband object to the action.

Full opinion follows: http://www.floridasupremecourt.org/decisions/2018/sc17-1963.pdf


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About Beth

Elizabeth Wolt is an AV rated marital and family law attorney. She runs a boutique law firm catering to a select group of clients taking on a low number of cases so she can devote individulaized attention during this difficult transition. Identified as one of the Best and Brightest college Students by USA Today in 1994. Featured in a cover article on May 8, 1997 of the Wall Street Journal. Graduated Magna Cum Laude from Undergraduate School- University of South Florida with a BA in Psychology 1994. Graduated Cum Laude from University of Miami School of Law- JD.1997. Named to the list of "Top Lawyers in Florida" by the Legal Network 2013, 2014, & 2015. AV rated by Martindale Hubbel in both ethics and ability. Rated "Excellent" by AVVO legal.com Featured in the American Lawyer December 2014
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