July 24, 2016
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The Florida Statutes

The 2010 Florida Statutes(including Special Session A)

Title VI
CIVIL PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE
Chapter 63
ADOPTION
View Entire Chapter
F.S. 63.054
63.054 Actions required by an unmarried biological father to establish parental rights; Florida Putative Father Registry.
(1) In order to preserve the right to notice and consent to an adoption under this chapter, an unmarried biological father must, as the “registrant,” file a notarized claim of paternity form with the Florida Putative Father Registry maintained by the Office of Vital Statistics of the Department of Health which includes confirmation of his willingness and intent to support the child for whom paternity is claimed in accordance with state law. The claim of paternity may be filed at any time before the child’s birth, but may not be filed after the date a petition is filed for termination of parental rights. In each proceeding for termination of parental rights, the petitioner must submit to the Office of Vital Statistics a copy of the petition for termination of parental rights. The Office of Vital Statistics may not record a claim of paternity after the date a petition for termination of parental rights is filed. The failure of an unmarried biological father to file a claim of paternity with the registry before the date a petition for termination of parental rights is filed also bars him from filing a paternity claim under chapter 742.
(a) An unmarried biological father is excepted from the time limitations for filing a claim of paternity with the registry or for filing a paternity claim under chapter 742, if:
1. The mother identifies him to the adoption entity as a potential biological father by the date she executes a consent for adoption; and
2. He is served with a notice of intended adoption plan pursuant to s. 63.062(3) and the 30-day mandatory response date is later than the date the petition for termination of parental rights is filed with the court.
(b) If an unmarried biological father falls within the exception provided by paragraph (a), the petitioner shall also submit to the Office of Vital Statistics a copy of the notice of intended adoption plan and proof of service of the notice on the potential biological father.
(c) An unmarried biological father who falls within the exception provided by paragraph (a) may not file a claim of paternity with the registry or a paternity claim under chapter 742 after the 30-day mandatory response date to the notice of intended adoption plan has expired. The Office of Vital Statistics may not record a claim of paternity 30 days after service of the notice of intended adoption plan.
(2) By filing a claim of paternity form with the Office of Vital Statistics, the registrant expressly consents to submit to DNA testing upon the request of any party, the registrant, or the adoption entity with respect to the child referenced in the claim of paternity.
(3) The Office of Vital Statistics of the Department of Health shall adopt by rule the appropriate claim of paternity form in English, Spanish, and Creole in order to facilitate the registration of an unmarried biological father with the Florida Putative Father Registry and shall, within existing resources, make these forms available through local offices of the Department of Health and the Department of Children and Family Services, the Internet websites of those agencies, and the offices of the clerks of the circuit court. The claim of paternity form shall be signed by the unmarried biological father and must include his name, address, date of birth, and physical description. In addition, the registrant shall provide, if known, the name, address, date of birth, and physical description of the mother; the date, place, and location of conception of the child; and the name, date, and place of birth of the child or estimated date of birth of the expected minor child, if known. The claim of paternity form shall be signed under oath by the registrant.
(4) Upon initial registration, or at any time thereafter, the registrant may designate an address other than his residential address for sending any communication regarding his registration. Similarly, upon initial registration, or at any time thereafter, the registrant may designate, in writing, an agent or representative to receive any communication on his behalf and receive service of process. The agent or representative must file an acceptance of the designation, in writing, in order to receive notice or service of process. The failure of the designated representative or agent of the registrant to deliver or otherwise notify the registrant of receipt of correspondence from the Florida Putative Father Registry is at the registrant’s own risk and shall not serve as a valid defense based upon lack of notice.
(5) The registrant may, at any time prior to the birth of the child for whom paternity is claimed, execute a notarized written revocation of the claim of paternity previously filed with the Florida Putative Father Registry, and upon receipt of such revocation, the claim of paternity shall be deemed null and void. If a court determines that a registrant is not the father of the minor or has no parental rights, the court shall order the Department of Health to remove the registrant’s name from the registry.
(6) It is the obligation of the registrant or, if designated under subsection (4), his designated agent or representative to notify and update the Office of Vital Statistics of any change of address or change in the designation of an agent or representative. The failure of a registrant, or designated agent or representative, to report any such change is at the registrant’s own risk and may not serve as a defense based upon lack of notice, and the adoption entity or petitioner has no further obligation to search for the registrant unless the person petitioning for termination of parental rights or adoption has actual notice of the registrant’s address and whereabouts from another source.
(7) In each proceeding for termination of parental rights or each adoption proceeding in which parental rights are being terminated simultaneously with entry of the final judgment of adoption, as in a stepparent and relative adoption filed under this chapter, the petitioner must contact the Office of Vital Statistics by submitting an application for a search of the Florida Putative Father Registry. The petitioner must provide the same information, if known, on the search application form that the registrant furnished under subsection (3). Thereafter, the Office of Vital Statistics shall issue a certificate signed by the State Registrar certifying:
(a) The identity and contact information, if any, for each registered unmarried biological father whose information matches the search request sufficiently so that such person may be considered a possible father of the subject child; or
(b) That a diligent search has been made of the registrants who may be the unmarried biological father of the subject child and that no matching registration has been located in the registry.

The certificate must be filed with the court in the proceeding to terminate parental rights or the adoption proceeding. If a termination of parental rights and an adoption proceeding are being adjudicated separately, the Florida Putative Father Registry need only be searched for the termination of parental rights proceeding.

(8) If an unmarried biological father does not know the county in which the birth mother resides, gave birth, or intends to give birth, he may initiate an action in any county in the state, subject to the birth mother’s right to change venue to the county where she resides.
(9) The Department of Health shall establish and maintain a Florida Putative Father Registry through its Office of Vital Statistics, in accordance with the requirements of this section. The Department of Health may charge a nominal fee to cover the costs of filing and indexing the Florida Putative Father Registry and the costs of searching the registry.
(10) The Department of Health shall, within existing resources, prepare and adopt by rule application forms for initiating a search of the Florida Putative Father Registry and shall make those forms available through the local offices of the Department of Health and the Department of Children and Family Services and the offices of the clerks of the circuit court.
(11) The Department of Health shall produce and distribute, within existing resources, a pamphlet or publication informing the public about the Florida Putative Father Registry and which is printed in English, Spanish, and Creole. The pamphlet shall indicate the procedures for voluntary acknowledgment of paternity, the consequences of acknowledgment of paternity, the consequences of failure to acknowledge paternity, and the address of the Florida Putative Father Registry. Such pamphlets or publications shall be made available for distribution at all offices of the Department of Health and the Department of Children and Family Services and shall be included in health class curricula taught in public and charter schools in this state. The Department of Health shall also provide such pamphlets or publications to hospitals, adoption entities, libraries, medical clinics, schools, universities, and providers of child-related services, upon request. In cooperation with the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, each person applying for a Florida driver’s license, or renewal thereof, and each person applying for a Florida identification card shall be offered the pamphlet or publication informing the public about the Florida Putative Father Registry.
(12) The Department of Health shall, within existing resources, provide additional information about the Florida Putative Father Registry and its services to the public in English, Spanish, and Creole using public service announcements, Internet websites, and such other means as it deems appropriate.
(13) The filing of a claim of paternity with the Florida Putative Father Registry does not excuse or waive the obligation of a petitioner to comply with the requirements for conducting a diligent search and inquiry with respect to the identity of an unmarried biological father or legal father which are set forth in this chapter.
(14) The Office of Vital Statistics of the Department of Health is authorized to adopt rules to implement this section.
History.s. 11, ch. 2003-58; s. 2, ch. 2006-265; s. 7, ch. 2008-151.
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