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 in order 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.

Caveda Law Firm, P.A. provides the assistance you need to effectively prove your paternity, and gain your rights and responsibilities as a father.

Proving Paternity

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 there is another legal reason for the relationship to be severed.

Assuming Responsibility

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.

The Parenting Plan

The parenting plan relates to the common term of “child custody“, determing each parent’s rights regarding shared time, access, and decision-making for the child. 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. The 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.

Schedule Your Free Consultation

Caveda Law Firm, P.A. wants your child to have the love and support of both parents. We protect your rights as a father, ensuring that you have fair access long-term, and provide you with the means of legal recourse if you are being denied access. Your Tampa Father’s Rights Lawyers, Caveda Law Firm, P.A. is dedicated to providing outstanding legal support and guidance.

Call Caveda Law Firm, P.A. today at (813) 463-0800 for a Free Consultation with a Father’s Rights Attorney!