What Rights Do Florida Fathers Have?
Sometimes paternity must be established in order to enforce child support as well as custody rights. Paternity actions establish the legal father. This is not always necessarily the biological father. Instead, it is meant to legally establish the parent-child relationship. Along with this come both rights and responsibilities. They include the right to have time with your child and help make decisions in raising your child. This coincides with responsibilities, such as compliance with a custody agreement as well as paying child support.
Helping Parents Establish Paternity Or Disestablish Paternity
I assist both parties who are seeking to establish paternity or contesting paternity. For example, I can represent mothers seeking to establish paternity through the court to ensure that she receives the child support her child is entitled to. On the other end of the spectrum, I can represent fathers who have received child support papers through the Department of Revenue and are seeking to disestablish paternity.
Do Fathers Have Automatic Rights?
Paternity can be established through a DNA test, particularly for unmarried parents. A party must petition the court for a DNA test to be conducted. Otherwise, in the case of married couples, the law assumes paternity unless proven otherwise. However, just because a father is a biological father that does not necessarily establish parental rights.
In fact, unless a court declares a man to be the father of a child, that man essentially has no parental rights. It is crucial for a father to work with a Fort Lauderdale paternity attorney so that his rights as a parent can be properly documented and recognized.
Paternity is especially important for a child for a number of reasons. Not only is it financially important due to child support and inheritance rights, but also for developmental reasons. It is important to establish who has custody and parenting time rights with the child in order to form a meaningful relationship.
Custody Rights for Fathers
Many fathers will often assume that they do not have rights or that the child is always better off with their mother. That is not the case because children need both mom and dad in their life. Both parents are equally important for the physical, mental, and financial health of the child. Luckily, Florida law does not automatically give mothers sole or primary custody over their father, a Florida paternity attorney can help you navigate your options.
They even refer to custody in different terms than most other states. In Florida, it is called time-sharing. Although this is a step in the right direction, many courts are still having a hard time with the concept of gender equality and can sometimes lean towards the mother in cases.
Unmarried Fathers Protections
When a couple is married, paternity is presumed and therefore custody is inherently established by the courts. However, when the couple is unwed, establishing paternity looks very different. Paternity must be established independently and this is often done through a paternity test. You will need a Fort Lauderdale paternity rights attorney by your side to ensure that paternity is properly established and your parental rights are enforced. You may think that your name on their birth certificate is enough but it is not.
Estaplhining paternity is only one part as now your attorney will need to work to help you build a parenting plan that works for both parties. There are several things that will need to be outlined in a parenting plan including:
- Health care
- Medical decisions
- Child support
- Timesharing and visitation
You may not have thought that a parenting plan would cover so many areas but it does. This is why you need a Fort Lauderdale paternity right attorney on your side to make sure you are an active participant in your child’s life.
Visitation Rights for Fathers
You may be wondering what rights you have under visitation. Essentially a father has the right to contact with their child whether it be through phone, internet, or physically on a regular basis. If you and the other parent cannot agree on a schedule then a judge will create one for you. If one parent is restricting access to the child, the other parent can go back to the court with their Fort Lauderdale paternity rights attorney to seek enforcement.
A father is also entitled to know of and participate in any activities the child is involved in. So if the child is into sports and they have a competition, the father must be informed so they can partake in the activity and be present for the child. It is important to note that the court can modify the terms of your visitation agreement at any time. This is especially important when the safety of the child comes into question. Such as when there are illicit drugs, participating in sexually risky behavior, and excessive drinking.
The laws in Florida prefer the father and the mother to have stable lives as this is what is best for the child.
Contact A Skilled Fathers’ Rights Lawyer
If you need legal advice regarding paternity and child support, talk to a paternity attorney in Fort Lauderdale about your situation. Contact The Law Office of Gustavo E. Frances, P.A., toll-free at 954-533-2756.
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