© 2024 All Rights reserved WUSF
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

PolitiFact FL: Florida does not require dads take DNA test to sign kid's birth certificate

The U.S. birth rate went up in 2021. Here, a baby is seen in a hospital in McAllen, Texas in 2020.
Eric Gay
/
AP
The U.S. birth rate went up in 2021. Here, a baby is seen in a hospital in McAllen, Texas in 2020.

PolitiFact and WLRN found no Florida law, new or otherwise, requiring fathers to complete DNA testing to be on their children's birth certificates. 

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.

Our ruling

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.

Our Sources

WLRN has partnered with PolitiFact to fact-check Florida politicians. The Pulitzer Prize-winning team seeks to present the true facts, unaffected by agenda or biases.

Copyright 2023 WLRN 91.3 FM. To see more, visit WLRN 91.3 FM.

Samantha Putterman