Paternal Rights of Unmarried Fathers

Child custody, visitation, and child support are complicated issues to try to deal with as an unwed man. 

Men are not always treated the same as women in this aspect of Florida law. It may feel overwhelming and trying and we strongly recommend reaching out to an experienced law firm near you in Tallahassee, Florida.

Establishing Paternity

In the state of Florida, married fathers are considered to be a biological parent of any child born during the marriage without proof of a paternity test.

However, if a parent’s name is not on the child’s birth certificate and they are unmarried, they are often not considered a parent in the eyes of the court. In this situation, the parent can petition to have their name added to the child’s birth certificate, but at that point, the parent will actually have to prove paternity through a test.

Legal Custody and Time-sharing

There are two types of custody at play here as far as the court is concerned and they don’t always overlap. Legal custody and physical.

  1. Legal custody - Legal custody is the custody a parent is awarded to legally make decisions for the child. This includes where they should attend school and any medical decisions among many others.
  2. Physical custody - Having physical custody of a child is a requirement if a parent wants to have the child live with them.

Time-sharing, also known as “custody percentage” refers to the amount of time that one parent will get to spend with the child. Finding a expert custody lawyer near you is highly recommended for custody disputes.

What About Visitation Rights?

After establishing parenthood in Florida, and barring extenuating circumstances, the Florida court will establish plans for time-sharing, custody, and alimony if necessary. The court is driven by the best interest of the child rather than the parent, and generally sees an equal sharing of responsibility and time with the child as ideal so generally, the mother and the father are treated the same.

Will the father have to pay child support in Florida?

The short answer is generally yes. If paternity is proven, the child is entitled to financial support from the father. This amount is decided by the court based on the income of both parents unless an agreement can be reached outside of court.

Navigating the ins and outs of the legal system is difficult and having an experienced family law attorney can make all the difference. Don’t wait to decide your future, reach out today for a consultation.

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