Articles Posted in Paternity

Oftentimes, the U.S. Supreme Court determines the future of major corporations and interest groups, but occasionally it will decide the fate of child and two separate families. However, on January 4, 2013, the Supreme Court decided to hear the case of ‘Baby Veronica’. In this case, Veronica’s future is at stake between her adopting parents and her Native American biological father.The baby Veronica case hinges on the applicability of the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978 (ICWA). Before the 1970’s, there was no substantial federal statute to safeguard the rights of a Native American child adopted out of their tribe. Many children were adopted, with or without consent, out of their tribes to non-Native families. The ICWA was signed to balance the interests of adopting parents against tribal rights.

Baby Veronica was born in September 2009, her biological father is a member of the Cherokee Nation. Her legal parents lived in South Carolina, knew the biological mother of Veronica and even visited the mother in Oklahoma for the birth. The mother had agreed to the adoption but the biological father fought the adoption. Without any sort of marital bonds between the biological mother and father, typically, this adoption should go on without a hitch.

However, in 2011, the South Carolina Supreme Court ordered the return of Veronica to her birth father based on the ICWA’s preferential treatment of paternal rights. As earlier noted, the ICWA not only intended to safeguard tribes and their future generations from purposeful outsider penetration but also to benefit the interests of children growing up outside their culture. Sociological research repeatedly suggests that cross cultural adoption may often leads to severe identity issues. Adoption related identity issues are heavily correlated to later drug use, alcoholism, jail, even self-harm. These issues are heavily prevalent amongst former adopted Native Americans. Adopting parents must be well aware of the struggle their child may go through, which might be foreign to the parents.

The ICWA obviously only regulates adoption cases involving children from tribal homes, but Florida has other state statutes regulating adoption. The Florida Putative Father Registry is state registry for biological fathers. A man who has heterosexual intercourse with a woman in Florida may file a notarized affidavit in the registry. Before an adoption may proceed, a search will be done into the Putative Father Registry for potential biological fathers who may protest the adoption. The potential father only has a limited time after the intercourse to register if he expects to be able object to a possible adoption.
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A federal judge has ruled in favor a Miami Heat basketball star LeBron James in a paternity lawsuit brought by a lawyer who alleged that he was the biological father of the NBA superstar. In June, 2010, Leicester Bryce Stovell filed a paternity lawsuit which claimed that in 1984 he had a relationship with the mother, Gloria James.

Stovell, a former lawyer for the United States Securities and Exchange Comission, requested a new paternity test and millions of dollars in damages. He alleged that both James and his mother defamed his character and comitted fraud in concealing that he was the biological father.

In an opinion filed on September 16, 2011, U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly granted a motion to dismiss the case. She found that the lawsuit failed to show that he had incurred actual damages. The court believed that the damages which were requested were speculative in nature. Stovell also sought damages for loss of love and affection. The court found that this was not a recognizable form of damages for common law fraud.

Divorce lawyers in Miami have been advised that rapper Pitbull, whose real name is Armando Perez, recently resolved a paternity case which was pending before Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Robert N. Scola, Jr.

Prior to the filing of the Miami paternity action, Pitbull was voluntarily paying $3,000 per month in child support to the mother of his child, Barbara Alba. In her petition, Alba requested child support, shared parental responsibility, a parenting plan and a time-sharing schedule. The mother also requested housing in a secured and gated community and child support based upon the rapper’s lifestyle.

On July 18, 2011, the Court entered a Final Judgment of Paternity. The settlement agreement entered into by the parties has not been filed with the court in order to respect each party’s privacy.

TMZ is reporting that former Miami Heat basketball player, Glen Rice, has filed a paternity action against his ex-girlfriend, Tia Santoro, in South Florida. Through his Miami paternity lawyer, Mr. Rice has requested a DNA test prior to any child support settlement agreement and parenting plan being resolved by the parties or ordered by the Court.

In prior weeks, Ms. Santoro requested law enforcement assistance in order to retrieve her personal belongings from Mr. Rice’s residence. After the breakdown in the relationship, Coral Gables Police Department provided assistance without any altercation from the parties.

The Sun Sentinel is reporting that a Florida woman who was killed in her Tallahassee home had recently been awarded child support by a Florida marital and family law judge. Last Tuesday, Brandi Peters was awarded $307 per month in child support and retroactive child support in the amount of $22,925. The father of the twins, Antonio L. Anthony, had requested a paternity test which was denied by the court. Peters, her 3 year old son and 6 year old twins were all found dead on Saturday.

Law enforcement is treating the deaths as a homicide. They have spoken with the father of the twins and the father of the 3 year old son. The father of the twins has served three prior prison terms, was recently arrested in May, 2009 after serving a four year prison sentence and has prior offenses for aggravated assault with a weapon and armed burglary.

Fort Lauderdale divorce attorneys can file a petition to disestablish paternity and terminate a child support obligation if a male is not the biological father of a child. The petition must contain an affidavit that newly discovered evidence has become available since the original paternity or child support determination and an affidavit acknowledging that the child support obligation is current or has been substantially complied with and that any arrearage is a result of inability for just cause to pay the child support. Last but not least, a Broward marital and family law lawyer must plead that scientific paternity tests administered within 90 days prior to the filing of the petition prove that the male is not the biological father. Alternatively, an affidavit can be filed advising the court that the mother has prevented access to the minor child and that the court should order all interested parties to submit to DNA testing.

In Aulet v Aulet, the former husband appealed the Miami trial court’s order that dismissed his petition to disestablish paternity and terminate child support as a result of his failure to include scientific paternity tests administered within 90 days prior to the filing of the petition. The former husband was the father of three minor children pursuant to the final judgment of dissolution of marriage entered in December 2003. On April 5, 2007 and May 1, 2007, he had two DNA tests performed on one of the children. The DNA testing results revealed that there was a 0% chance that he was the biological father of one of the minor children.

The former husband’s petition did not contain an affidavit stating that he did not have access to the minor child to perform the DNA test within 90 days prior to the filing of the petition or that the trial court should order DNA testing of the minor child. Rather, the former husband alleged that that former wife refused to allow him access to the minor child since May, 2007. In affirming the decision of the Miami-Dade divorce and paternity court, the Third District Court of Appeal held that the plain language of Florida Statute 742.18 mandates that when a movant relies upon DNA tests administered prior to the filing of a petition, the tests must have been administered within 90 days prior to the filing of the petition.

According to, the Miami Heat’s newest basketball player, LeBron James, is being sued in federal court for allegedly denying paternity by committing fraud and misrepresentation against the alleged putative father. The putative father is requesting DNA testing to ascertain whether or not he is the biological father as well as $4 million in damages. The biological father, Leicester Stovell, claims that he engaged in sexual relations with Gloria James, the mother of Lebron James, during 1984. Mr. Stovell claims that he filed the lawsuit two weeks ago since the statute of limitations is close to expiring. It is unknown whether or not a Miami divorce attorney or paternity lawyer has been consulted or retained.

An extended family member such as a relative in the third degree by blood or marriage to the parent of a stepparent of a child currently married to a parent may have a lawyer file an action under Florida law to seek temporary custody of a minor child in Broward. This is intended to provide a legal means for a statutorily defined family member to acquire the necessary legal documentation to permit them to provide for the minor child under for whom they are caring for by allowing them to consent to medical treatment, to obtain copies of school records and to enroll the minor child in school.

In a recent case from the Fourth District Court of Appeal, Mohorn v Thomas, the grandmother appealed an order entered by Broward marital and family Judge Marina Garcia-Wood. The trial court denied her petition for temporary custody. Judge Garcia-Wood found that the father’s name on the birth certificate was insufficient to establish paternity and that the father was required to file a paternity action to establish or ratify paternity before temporary custody of an extended family member could be sought by an extended family member.

The minor child’s birth certificate listed Sylenia Danielle Thomas as the mother and Ronnie Kennedy as the father. One year after the minor child was born, the mother and father executed a document that gave all rights and legal guardianship of the minor child to the paternal grandparents.

A former South Florida Cathoic priest, David Dueppen, has fathered a minor child with a former stripper, Beatrice Hernandez. On October 5, 2009, he filed a Petition for Paternity, Timesharing, Child Support and for Related Relief in the Miami-Dade marital and family court which handles divorce and paternity cases for residents of Aventura, Coral Gables, Miami Beach and Pinecrest. He is seeking shared parental responsibility, child support and 70% of the custody and timesharing of the minor child.

Through his Miami divorce and paternity lawyer, David Deuppen has allegedly admitted paternity and would like to be involved in the minor child’s life. He joined the priesthood in 1999 but took an indefinite leave of absence in August 2009 after Beatrice Hernandez reported that the priest fathered a child. Over one year ago, they restarted their relationship and had a child, Marilyn.

The parties also have a pending domestic violence action since Hernandez claims that Dueppen choked her during an argument about paternity and child support. The Miami-Dade court has issued a temporary injunction for protection against domestic violence.

Peter Loftin, owner of the former Gianni Versace mansion on South Beach, Casa Casuarina, has been served with a paternity lawsuit by a former Miami Dolphins cheerleader. The lawsuit was filed on June 5, 2009 in the Miami-Dade county marital and family law court. The case is assigned to Miami-Dade Circuit Court Chief Judge Joel H. Brown, who presides over child support, divorce, alimony and paternity cases south of Fort Lauderdale.

Any woman who is pregnant or who has a child, any man who has reason to believe that he is the father of a child or any child may file a paternity action in circuit court to determine the paternity of a child when paternity has not previously been established. The court can require the child, mother and alleged fathers to submit to DNA testing that are generally acceptable within the scientific community to show a probability of paternity. The DNA test is conducted by a qualified technical laboratory.

A Final Judgment of Paternity generally will address child support, including but not limited to, a monthly amount, uncovered and out-of-pocket medical and dental expenses, hospital and medical expenses, costs of confinement, bills for pregnancy and child birth and any other expenses incident to birth. In addition, a Final Judgment of Paternity may also address shared parental responsibility, time-sharing schedules and a parenting plan so that both parents can have a meaningful relationship with the minor child.