Several children are born each year to parents that choose not to marry. In Florida, the Mother of a child born to unmarried parents is the legal guardian of that child (Florida Statute 744.301). To establish their parental rights, Fathers need to file an action with the Court called a Complaint to Establish Paternity. The Court will enter an order granting the Father his parental rights, establish a time-sharing plan, and establish child support.
It is very important to stress that even though a Father may be named on the birth certificate or the Department of Revenue may have established child support, the Father has no legal rights to the child(ren) in the State of Florida until he has a Court order through a paternity action.
It is also important to note that if the Mother is married to another man when the child is born, then her husband is presumed to be the legal father of the child. That is another reason is very important for the biological father to file a paternity action to establish himself as the legal Father.
If you are contemplating a paternity action or are in need of legal counsel for another family law issue, 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.