A PREDICTION FOR PATERNITY
In the Fall 2012 publication of Commentator, John Foster and his then-associate, Kelli Murray (who is now Chief of Staff at the University of Florida’s law school), published an article entitled “Paternity in the Modern Family”, which may be viewed by clicking on the following link:
In the article, John and Kelli discussed the evolving nature of the law for cases dealing with “quasi-marital children”, who are children born during a marriage where the biological father is not the mother’s husband. John and Kelli closed their 2012 article by expressly noting:
While the case law evolves, the one thing that remains clear is that the children – and their best interests – need to remain the central focus of these proceedings. As confirmed by the Florida Supreme Court in Privette: “This policy [of advancing the best interests of the child] is a guiding principle that must inform every action of the courts in this sensitive legal area.” 647 So.2d at 307.
Commentator, “Paternity in the Modern Family”, Vol. XXVI, No. 1, p.29 (Fall 2012).
On June 28, 2018, the case law concerning quasi-marital children evolved further. More specifically, the Florida Supreme Court issued Simmonds v. Perkins, 43 Fla. L. Weekly S273a (Fla. June 28, 2018), in which the Court held the that the common law presumption of legitimacy (i.e., the presumption that the mother’s husband is the child’s father) does not bar the biological father from seeking to establish parental rights to his quasi-marital child where the biological father has “manifested a substantial and continuing concern for the welfare of the child.” And, according to the Florida Supreme Court in Simmonds, the above-referenced presumption is overcome when there is a “clear and compelling reason based primarily on the child’s best interests.”
In short, as predicted in the 2012 Commentator article, the case law concerning quasi-marital children is indeed evolving and the central focus of such cases continues to be the best interests of the children.
To read the Florida Supreme Court’s decision in Simmonds, click on the below link: