Florida Legal Custody Rights and Unmarried Parents
In Florida when children are born to married couples, the father of the child is presumed to be the husband. But, what are the legal custody rights of unmarried fathers? In Florida an unmarried father has no legal rights to custody or timesharing until paternity is established. Until paternity is legally established with the courts, the mother has sole, legal and physical custody of the child or children.
Single Mother’s Rights and Sole Custody
In Florida, the law states that both parents must provide financial support for their children. Financial support from the father may not be a pressing issue for some single moms, and so they do not act to establish paternity and have no court ordered obligation to offer timesharing to the father of the child. But, what happens when the father decides to pursue a relationship with the minor child? Florida does not have a presumption rule for 50/50 custody, however, if the father proceeds and establishes legal paternity, the father may be awarded shared parental responsibility and 50/50 timesharing.
Protecting Your Rights Under Florida Law
Each paternity matter is unique and if you are a single mom and have questions about establishing paternity sooner, rather than paternity being established at a later date, you should consult with a child custody attorney. If you have been served with a Petition to establish legal paternity by the father of your child in Hillsborough, Pasco or Pinellas County, Florida, it is recommended that you retain an attorney to represent you and to protect your rights under Florida Law.
Unmarried Father’s and Your Parental Rights
If you are unmarried in Tampa Bay and you have not yet established paternity you have no legal rights to custody or timesharing with your minor child. If you are unmarried, and you will soon become a father, you may wish to consult with an attorney prior to the child’s birth and before signing the birth certificate. This may sound harsh, but in doing so you are simply ensuring your that your rights are protected going forward. Why might this be an important first step? In Florida, you are entitled to petition the courts to establish legal paternity, however, if you sign the birth certificate when a child is born and you are unmarried, if for some reason you discover that you are not the biological father, you can still be held financially responsible until paternity is disestablished.
Best Interest of Children
Father’s and mothers both play a pivotal and important role in a child’s life. Although there are many times where a parent’s behavior may not be conducive to the best interest of the child, the courts will look favorably on a father who wishes to pursue a meaningful relationship with their child. This means that you will be ready to financially contribute to the support of your child, and will have a court order that protects your rights to timesharing and custody. Remember, non payment of child support is a serious matter, but non-payment of child support is not a reason for the mother to withhold timesharing once a timesharing order has been entered.
Parental Rights Attorney – Tampa, Lutz, Clearwater, Dade City
Nilo J Sanchez & Associates has 25 years of experience fighting for mother’s rights and father’s rights in Tampa Bay. Every situation is very unique, and Attorney Sanchez provides his clients with the compassionate and knowledgeable representation. As a top-rated Tampa Bay Child Custody attorney, Mr. Sanchez knows how to navigate difficult custody cases, particularly as it pertains to parental rights and paternity. For an affordable consultation with Nilo J Sanchez & Associates call 813-879-4600 today.