What are the Parental Rights of Unmarried Fathers in Florida?

parental rights of unmarried fathersNavigating child custody, visitation and child support is complicated and can be emotionally trying. Unmarried fathers may feel frustrated that they don’t have the same rights as other parents. Dealing with this difficult subject is much easier if you know your paternal visitation rights in Florida. Contacting a family law expert in Jacksonville can help. Here are some important facts that you should be aware of.

Do I need to establish paternity in Florida?

Married fathers are automatically considered the biological father of any children born during the marriage. If you’re an unmarried father who is not named on the birth certificate, you’re known as a putative father. You may petition to have your name added to the birth certificate, but you will also have to establish your paternity. You do not have any rights to your child until it is proven to the court that you are the biological father.

For visitation rights in Florida, the process of proving paternity begins by filing a Petition to Determine Paternity. This form is used to establish paternity and set a time-sharing schedule and/or child support of a minor child. You’ll have to get a court order, and you may be required to undergo DNA testing to identify yourself as the biological father.

Does the father have any rights in the event of an adoption?

It’s important to note that you can file with the Florida Putative Father Registry during a pregnancy. The purpose of this registry is to give fathers notification rights and options if the mother decides to put the baby up for adoption. A claim of paternity may be filed any time prior to the child’s birth.

Does an unmarried father have visitation rights after establishing paternity?

You can claim your rights as a father after establishing paternity. The mother of the child may pursue child support and other benefits once you are established as the biological father. The court will create a parenting plan, set a time-sharing agreement, and decide on child support and parental responsibilities.

In the state of Florida, the courts like to see each parent have fairly equal custody. This is called time-sharing in Florida and it refers to the amount of time each parent spends with the child. The best interest of the child is always the guiding principle for the court’s decisions. Both parents typically have a say in decisions regarding issues such as healthcare, education, housing situation, and religion.

Will I have to pay child support in Florida?

Once paternity is established, the child is entitled to financial support from you. Child support is ruled separately from time-sharing rulings. Child support amounts are calculated based on both parents’ income and expenses. The Florida Child Support Guidelines is used to figure out the amount each parent must pay each month. Child support must be paid on time, as Florida has serious consequences when payments are late or missed.

Contact the family lawyers at Parker & DuFresne to learn more about your rights as a father. Our experienced attorneys will ensure that you know your rights in regards to paternity in the state of Florida. Call today at (904) 733-776.

Sources:

http://www.scdhec.gov/VitalRecords/PaternityAndLegitimation/
https://www.flcourts.org/core/fileparse.php/293/urlt/983a.pdf
http://www.floridahealth.gov/certificates/certificates/birth/Putative_Father/index.html
http://www.flcourts.org/core/fileparse.php/293/urlt/902e.pdf