Not all families start out the same way. In some cases, a mother may be unmarried when her child is born but later decides to marry the child’s biological father. However, this doesn’t mean the father of the child will be listed on their birth certificate. 

Couples in this situation will have to choose legitimization by either a form DH-743A or by applying for a marriage license. After filing the correct forms, the biological father will be able to assume parental responsibilities and his name will be listed on the child’s birth certificate.

If you and your future spouse wish to establish paternity through legitimization, it’s imperative you contact an experienced criminal defense attorney.

Attorney for Legitimization in Broward County, Florida

If you and your partner want to claim your shared child through legitimization, it’s recommended you obtain legal representation. You can find quality legal counsel with Bacchus Law Firm. Nisha E. Bacchus is an experienced family lawyer who has helped numerous couples establish paternity through legitimization.

Call now at (954) 500-5555 and schedule a case consultation today. We accept clients throughout the Broward County area including Pembroke Pines, Hollywood, and Fort Lauderdale.

Overview of Legitimization in Florida

What Does Legitimization Do?

In Florida, there are multiple ways to establish paternity. One common way is through a process called legitimization. Legitimization is reserved for mothers who were unmarried when they gave birth but married the biological father later on.

Unfortunately, just because you married the biological father of the child doesn’t mean they’ll be listed on their birth certificate. Instead you must file an Affirmation of Common Child(ren) Born in Florida Form (form DH-743A) or sign a written agreement when you apply for your marriage license. Once you’ve filed the appropriate form the Court Clerk will contact the Florida Bureau of Vital Statistics to add the father’s name. 

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What’s Required of the DH-743A Form?

A common way to establish paternity through legitimization is through an DH-743A or an Affirmation of Common Children Born in Florida Form. You can locate the form at your County Clerk’s office while applying for a marriage license. In addition, you must present a valid form of identification to the Clerk to obtain a form.

You can obtain an DH-743A form if:

  • The shared child was born in Florida;
  • You and the other person are the natural parents of the child;
  • The mother was unmarried at the time the child was born;
  • No other legal father is listed on the birth record; and
  • They’re applying for a marriage license

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Legitimization Through a Marriage License

Another route to legitimization is through a marriage license. You and your future spouse can have a written statement added to your license which entails you have common children. To obtain a marriage license, you must go to the nearest Circuit Court Clerk near you.

You will be required to pay a fee of around $90, which can be reduced to $60 if you completed a premarital course. The Clerk will also ask for certain types of identification such as:

  • Driver’s License;
  • State ID card; or
  • Valid passport

Applicants for a marriage license will need their social security numbers, but not their cards. Once you’ve completed the license requirements you can add a written statement stating you have common children. After applying you must wait three days to receive your license unless you completed the four-hour premarital class.

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What if I Find Out the Child Isn’t Mine and We’re Married?

Unfortunately, parents aren’t always honest when it comes to paternity. It’s possible you may find out the common children between you and your spouse aren’t biologically yours at all. If you choose to claim paternity through legitimization, it won’t be easy to disestablish paternity.

Once you’ve married the biological mother of a child you will be named the legal father, unless there’s another legal father listed on their birth record. This means you’ll still be responsible for the child’s financial and medical wellbeing while the two of you are married. It’s a big decision to start a life together, but it’s an immense commitment to raise children. That is why if you are planning to establish paternity through legitimization it’s important you’re 100 percent confident you’re the biological father of the child.

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Additional Resources 

Affirmation of Common Children Born in Florida – Visit the official website of the Pasco County Clerk to see an DH-743A Form. Access the document to learn what information is required for a Affirmation of Common Children Form and additional instructions on how to properly file it.

Marriage License Information – Visit the official website of the Broward County Clerk to learn more about how to obtain a marriage license. Access the site to learn the required fees, the waiting period, and how to receive a marriage license if you’re under the age of 18.

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Lawyer for Legitimization in Fort Lauderdale, Florida

If you and your partner want to claim paternity through legitimization, it’s imperative you contact an experienced attorney such as Nisha E. Bacchus. Ms. Bacchus is skilled in all types of complex family law issues such as paternity. She can guide you through the legitimization process through quality legal service.

Call her office today at (954) 500-5555 to set up a free consultation. Ms. Bacchus will review your circumstances to help you know what the next best step is. Her office is located in Fort Lauderdale, but Bacchus Law Firm accepts clients throughout Broward County area including Pembroke Pines, Hollywood and Pompano Beach.

This article was last updated on June 6, 2019.