Fathers’ Rights In Florida
If you are an expectant father, you may assume that when you have a biological child with someone, you are automatically entitled to equal parental rights. However, in Florida, unless you are married at the time of the child’s birth, that is not the case. For unmarried fathers in Florida there are additional steps that must be taken in order to have any legal rights to a child, including visitation. This is true even if you are listed as the father on the child’s birth certificate. While this can be frustrating and a hassle, it is possible for unmarried fathers to obtain equal rights to their child. These rights come with responsibilities as well, including child support payments. A Florida family law lawyer can help you navigate this process and ensure that you complete all steps necessary to ensure that visitation, custody, and legal decision-making authority can be obtained. If you would like personalized information based on your specific circumstances, please schedule a consultation with the experienced family law attorneys at HAWM Law.
No Presumptive Rights for Unmarried Fathers
As noted above, in Florida, there are no presumptive rights for a child’s father unless the parents are married. This means that all the legal rights and decision-making authority belong to the mother in cases in which the parents are not married. For this reason, an unmarried mother has complete decision-making authority over custody and visitation. This can become complicated when the couple experiences a rough patch or if they decide to separate, as the mother may legally withhold visitation from the father. For many fathers, this is the first time they realize they do not have equal parental rights. However, in other circumstances, the realization can be far more jarring, like realizing you do not have authority to make emergency medical decisions for your child. In order to gain these rights, the father must legally establish paternity.