Several children are born each year to parents that choose not to marry. In Florida, when a child is birthed by unmarried parents, the mother is the legal guardian of that child (Florida Statute 744.301). For fathers to establish their rights as a parent, they need to file an action with the Court. This action is called a Complaint to Establish Paternity. From there, the Court will enter an order to grant the father his parental rights. Thereafter, a time-sharing plan and child support will be established.
There are some key points that need to be stressed with regard to paternity actions in the State of Florida.
Point one. A father has no legal rights to a child until he has a Court order through a paternity action. This rule applies even if a father’s name is clearly visible on the birth certificate. In addition, the rule still stands even if the Department of Revenue has established child support.
Point two. Picture this scenario. A child is born to a mother that is married to her husband. But, before the child is born, the mother had relations outside of the marriage. Therefore, when the child is born, it is presumed that the husband is the legal father of the child. This proves to be a point of importance for the biological father to file a paternity action. This will allow him to be established as the legal Father.
Are you contemplating a paternity action or in need of legal counsel for another family law issue? Are you located in Satellite Beach, Indialantic, Melbourne Beach, Cocoa Beach, or anywhere else in Brevard County, FL? I stand ready to assist you. Call my office at (321)728-2311 or contact me online to schedule a free initial consultation. I look forward to meeting you.