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Tampa Fathers’ Rights Lawyers

Many fathers fail to realize that, if they are not married to the mother of their child at the time of birth, they essentially have no rights or responsibilities regarding their child. This means that no legal entity can force the mother to allow the father any time-sharing, decision-making, or custody rights.

In the state of Florida, you must follow a certain process to obtain the same rights that a married (or divorced) father would have with his children. Even if you plan to marry the mother of the child, you will still need to take action to ensure your relationship is protected long-term. At Caveda Law Firm, we provide the assistance you need to effectively prove your paternity and gain your rights and responsibilities as a father.

Fathers’ Rights Issues in Florida

The first step in getting access to your children is to prove your paternity. The easiest and least expensive way to do this is by signing the birth certificate. If another man has signed the birth certificate for your child, you have the right to approach the court to petition and request a DNA test be performed. If you have taken legal responsibility for a child and later find out that you are not the biological father, this does not relieve you of any responsibility you have assumed, unless another legal reason exists for the relationship to be severed.

Once your paternity has been established, the next step is to assume responsibility for the child, typically through financial means, such as child support. Paternity can also be established through child support hearings if it has not been assumed previously. The court will review the income of both parents and any child-related expenses to establish an appropriate support obligation. Once a father has taken on the responsibility of supporting his child, then he becomes eligible to request time-sharing and decision-making authority for the child.

Parenting Plans

The parenting plan relates to the common term of “child custody,“ determining each parent’s rights regarding shared time, access, and decision-making for the child. Joint custody is generally assumed by courts to be in the best interests of the child as it keeps both parents in the child’s life with a frequent and continuing relationship. Only in cases where this would put a child at risk is sole custody imposed.

With joint custody, decision-making and timesharing typically begin at a 50/50 level between parents. However, this can vary based on the unique circumstances of the case. While the decision-making guidelines are typically assumed to be 50/50, this can change based on the time-sharing agreements. However, if time-sharing is relatively even, decision-making rights will typically follow that lead. 

Parents are expected to work collaboratively to create a plan that works well for them. If they are unable to do so, then the court will define a plan that may or may not be ideal for either party. The court will always strive to do what is best for the child or children involved.

Learn More About How the Law Affects You

Caveda Law Firm wants your child to have the love and support of both parents. We can protect your rights as a father, ensuring you have fair access for the long term and provide you with legal recourse if you are being denied access to your child. Our firm is dedicated to providing outstanding legal support and guidance to parents across Tampa.

Request a free initial consultation with a Tampa fathers’ rights attorney to discuss your concerns by contacting Caveda Law Firm online or at (813) 819-7444. Hablamos español.

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