Just because you are not married does not mean you don’t have rights as a father. Here at the Law Offices of Jorge L. Gonzalez , P.A., our team wants to make sure you understand where you stand in paternity cases. Our paternity lawyer is here to ensure you get the help you need. We are located in Hialeah, FL.
First You Must Establish Paternity
In family law across the United States, if a married couple has a baby, the legal presumption is that the husband in that family is the father of the baby. But when a child is born outside of marriage, there is no legal presumption of paternity. Without establishing paternity, an unwed father has no legal standing as it relates to visitation, shared custody, or the ability to make decisions about the welfare of the child.
The simplest way to establish paternity is to make sure that the unwed father’s name is on the baby’s birth certificate. Being with the mother at the hospital when the baby is born and helping her fill out the birth certificate forms is the least complicated way. If that is not possible, an unwed father can complete a Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity form in your state.
If the mother contests the father’s paternity, he can contact a government agency like the Child Support Enforcement Division in his state, or he can petition a court to establish his paternity. The unwed father will need to take a paternity test to establish his parental status.
If the father’s state has a registry, he should get on it immediately after he becomes aware of the mother’s pregnancy.
Unmarried Fathers Rights in Florida: Custody
Once an unwed father establishes paternity, he needs to work to determine his custody status. A man who is legally designated as the father has the same custody rights as a married father. If the unwed father and mother are raising the child together in the same home, custody is not an issue. But if at any time they separate, or if they do not intend to raise the child together, the father will need to petition a court to establish custody rights.
Fathers are generally at a disadvantage in a custody process because government agencies and family court judges usually start with the presumption that a child should be with his or her mother unless her custody would be detrimental to the child. So fathers who want custody of the child need to retain a family law attorney and start the legal process to establish custody.
Contact Our Paternity Lawyer
Get to the bottom of unmarried fathers rights in Florida. We are here to help when it comes to a family law, probate cases, traffic offenses, and bankruptcy. We deal with all the stress, so you don’t have to. If you are looking for a family law attorney who will get the job done, the Law Offices of Jorge L. Gonzales, P.A. are here to make sure you get exactly what you need. We are conveniently located in Hialeah, FL, and can also assist clients in Doral, FL. Call our paternity lawyer today for more information.