Thursday, December 29, 2011

Second District Reverses Default Disestablishment of Paternity

In Department of Revenue, o/b/o M.J.W. v. G.A.T., Jr., the lower tribunal granted a petition to disestablish paternity filed under Florida Statute 742.18 on the grounds that the Mother failed to produce the child for scientific paternity testing.  The Second District Court reversed that finding yesterday in an opinion published here, however, on the grounds that the lower court did not make a finding that the failure to produce the child was willful in nature.  While Section 742.18(7)(b) does in fact permit the lower court to grant the disestablishment of paternity based on a failure to appear for testing, that failure must be willful, and in the case on review the Mother was not provided with an opportunity to explain that failure.

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