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Rights for Unwed Fathers


There have been a range of laws passed by recently that have shifted parental and marital rights in the Sunshine State. Now, unwed fathers in the state of Florida automatically have parental rights that went exclusively to mothers in the past.

Paternity determinations have significant implications for all involved, parents and children alike. If you are an unwed Florida parent, it is important to understand all the rights and responsibilities both parents have for your child. To discuss what paternity is and dad rights in the context of Florida family law, connect with a skilled Orlando divorce lawyer.

Birth Certificates and Paternity Affidavits

Before the change to Florida law, a child who was born in the state out of wedlock had their mother as their natural guardian. There were legal hoops a dad had to jump through in order to establish his paternal rights.

A father had to choose to be listed on the birth certificate with the consent of the mother or sign a paternity affidavit. If neither of these actions were pursued, the father was temporarily not the legal father, but then mothers could legally pursue child support. Then the dad could end up in a situation where they had no parental rights but did have a financial obligation.

Parental rights are wide in reach and include decisions connected to where kids will reside, if they will be involved in a religious community, where they will go to school, and how medical decisions will be made.  The shift in Florida law means unwed fathers are able to have a say in these important parental decisions along with their responsibility to provide the funds required for a child to grow and thrive.

If you are a Florida dad who wants to explore what  rights and responsibilities you have, discuss the following considerations with a legal professional.

  • Parenting time. Fathers have the right to request a reasonable parenting plan or time-sharing schedule so they are able to spend time with their child.
  • Decision-making authority. Dads have the right to be involved in significant decisions related to their child’s upbringing, from education and healthcare to religious matters.
  • Information access. Legal fathers have the right to access their child’s records and should be informed of any important events in the child’s life.
  • Should there be a change in circumstances, fathers have the right to seek modifications to arrangements to ensure they remain in the child’s best interests.

Fostering a meaningful relationship between fathers and children benefits all involved. Both parents, whether married or unmarried, can bring joy and security to a child’s life.

Connect with a FL Attorney

Talk to a skilled Orlando divorce lawyer about your situation and how to secure the arrangement you are seeking. Your objectives may be in close reach with the support of an attorney.

How will the change in FL laws impact your family? Connect with the family law attorneys at Donna Hung Law. Call 407-999-0099 or contact us online to begin the process of ensuring the best possible outcome for all parties involved.

By submitting this form I acknowledge that form submissions via this website do not create an attorney-client relationship, and any information I send is not protected by attorney-client privilege.

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