In the State of Florida, a man become’s a legally recognized father in one of two ways; through marriage to the mother prior to the birth of the child, by both parties signing the birth certificate in the hospital, an acknowledgment of paternity or through a Paternity Order from the Court.
In cases of divorce, the husband is presumed to be the father of the children of the marriage. This presumption is rebuttable, which means that the assumption of a husband’s fatherhood can be overcome by evidence that the husband is not the father and if it is in the best interest of the child.
Florida Law does not discriminate between the rights of legally recognized fathers and mothers. Florida law seeks to promote happy and healthy children by giving children meaningful contact and time with both parents.
Rights Obtained After An Order of Paternity
Once the biological father of a child has been determined through paternity testing, he obtains certain legal rights. Father’s rights in Florida are fully protected under state law. In most cases, if you are declared the legal father of a child, you have the right to have your name added to the child’s Birth Certificate.
Father’s rights in Florida will also recognize you as a natural guardian of a child and you may be eligible to take legal action to obtain custody of your child
Custody and Visitation
The legal father of a child is given the same consideration as the mother when the court determines the parenting plan and visitation or time-sharing of the child. Each case is determined on an individual basis and the court considers a number of factors—such as the father’s relationship with the child, his experience in child rearing, his work schedule, and much more—before deciding visitation rights. Many times fathers do not live near the child. The father may live out of state or overseas. There are many ways to maintain close and continuing contact between the father and the child even when they live thousands of miles apart. If you were never married to the child’s mother, you have the same legal rights as a married father once your paternity is established and you are declared the legal father.
In addition to custody and visitation, a father’s rights may include contact rights. These contact rights include physical visits with the child as well as telephone and internet contact.
The Law Office of Andrew G. Storie can help Dad’s and Father’s in Orlando and all of Central Florida assert their rights. Call us at (407) 838-0887 and schedule a free consultation to see how we can help.