PolitiFact FL: Florida does not require dads take DNA test to sign kid's birth certificate
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Do fathers in Florida have to submit to DNA testing before signing their babies’ birth certificates?
"New Florida Law!" an Aug. 30 Facebook post reads. "A father must submit a DNA test before signing the birth certificates."
The post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Meta, which owns Facebook.
This isn’t accurate. There is no Florida law, new or otherwise, requiring fathers to complete DNA testing to be on their children's birth certificates.
Florida, instead, recently made it easier for many dads to assume parental responsibility.
On June 9, Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis signed into law H.B. 755, a bipartisan measure that acknowledges unmarried fathers’ rights by expanding a Florida statute that previously defaulted natural guardianship to the mother.
Now, both the mother "and a father who has established paternity" are considered their children’s natural guardians and are "entitled and subject to the rights and responsibilities of parents." The law took effect July 1.
Unmarried fathers can establish paternity through court action, but also outside legal proceedings by completing and signing a paternity acknowledgment form, which is typically done in the hospital. Both parents complete the form in the presence of a hospital-provided notary public.
"The man that signs the DH-511 form is the legal father as soon as the form is complete," the Florida Revenue Department says on its website. "The hospital will send the form to the Florida Bureau of Vital Statistics so they can record the birth. The legal father's name will also be on the birth certificate when it is recorded."
In a June 27 Miami Herald opinion column, Jeffrey Leving, an attorney and author of the book "Fathers Rights," said that, without the new law, unwed biological fathers often must hire lawyers and spend a lot of time and money fighting for things such as visitation rights and a say in medical care and schooling.
"It can be a long and expensive process that punishes those without the financial resources to fight for rights that will now be automatic, at least in Florida," he said.
A Facebook post claims that a new Florida law requires fathers to submit a DNA test to sign their children’s birth certificates.
There’s no evidence of such a law. A new state law, instead, acknowledges unmarried fathers’ rights by expanding state statute that previously defaulted natural guardianship to the mother. Now, both the mother "and a father who has established paternity" are considered their children’s guardians, according to the law.
We rate this claim False.
- Facebook post, Aug. 30, 2023
- Florida Senate, House Bill 755 Shared Parental Responsibility after Establishment of Paternity,
- The Florida Bar, GOVERNOR SIGNS BILL TO HELP UNMARRIED FATHERS FULFILL THEIR PARENTAL RESPONSIBILITIES, June 12, 2023
- Lowndes Law, New Florida Legislation Helps Unwed Fathers Gain Parental Rights, June 20, 2023
- Florida Statutes, CHAPTER 744 GUARDIANSHIP, Accessed Sept. 5, 2023
- Florida Revenue Department, Establishing praternity, Accessed Sept. 6, 2023
- DewittLaw.com, Father’s Rights and Florida’s New Paternity Law, Accessed Sept. 5, 2023
- Miami Herald, Florida gave unmarried fathers equal parental rights. Other states should do it, too | Opinion, June 27, 2023