Carefully Safeguarding Your Rights and Interests

Consultations On Father’s Rights

Often, fathers going through the divorce process feel that Florida family law places them at a distinct disadvantage. Frequently, the perception that Florida law does not adequately protect fathers’ rights is a function of a party either litigating important parenting issues without counsel or with counsel that is not equipped with the necessary skills to handle paternity cases.

It’s essential to protect your rights as a father in Florida. Contrary to popular belief, the court system isn’t necessarily inherently unfair to fathers. However, fathers may find that they have to be vigilant in exercising their rights to receive their due share in a divorce or custody situation.

At his firm, Stuart N. House, P.A., attorney House has a wealth of experience helping fathers fight for their rights. He will fiercely advocate for your rights as a father in the courtroom.

Understanding Father’s Rights In Florida

Florida courts recognize the importance of a father’s role in his children’s lives, but it is advisable to have competent counsel to ensure that role is conclusively established and preserved.

A father’s rights in Florida family law cases largely depend on whether the father has established paternity. 

What Rights Does A Father Have In Florida?

In brief, here’s what you need to know:

  • To have rights as a father, you need to establish paternity. If you were married to your child’s mother at the time of birth, you are automatically designated as the child’s paternal father and can exercise your rights as a father. If you married the child’s mother post-birth, as long as you applied for paternity while receiving your marriage license, you are still considered the child’s paternal father (assuming a different paternal father is not already listed on the child’s birth certificate).
  • You will need to file a paternal action if you are not established as the child’s paternal father on their birth certificate. This process often involves receiving an administrative order from your local court and using a genetic test to establish that you are your child’s biological father. If the genetic test shows you and your child share DNA, the Florida Department of Revenue will work with the Florida Office of Vital Statistics to ensure your status as a biological father is indicated on your child’s birth certificate in Florida records.

As long as you establish paternity for your child, you can exercise your rights as a father.

What Rights Does A Father Have Once Paternity is Established in Florida?

If you’ve established paternity and are currently navigating a Florida child custody battle, here’s what you should know:

  • The court will probably award you joint custody. It’s unusual for courts to award one party sole custody of a child – during divorce, courts want to ensure any children involved see both parents consistently, and that both parents are included in the child’s life. Unless one party is accused of an act like child abuse that would make custody untenable, you will likely find yourself in a joint custody arrangement with your ex or the child’s other parent.
  • The court will ask you to draft a parenting plan with your ex or the child’s other parent. The parenting plan lays out how both parties will handle the custody arrangement, including details such as where to exchange custody, how time gets shared between the parents, what education and medical care the child should receive, what religions or cultures they should be exposed to, etc. Family lawyers can help both parties draft a mutually beneficial parenting plan. If neither parent can agree on a parenting plan, the court may order a parenting plan on behalf of the parents. The parenting plan is a legally binding contract, and violating it could have legal consequences.

Decades Of Experience Advocating For Father’s Rights In Florida

The Fort Lauderdale fathers’ rights attorney at Stuart N. House, P.A., has more than two decades of legal experience. During that time, he has seen many changes in family structures and the roles that fathers want to play in their children’s lives. The laws have also changed, and mothers are no longer assumed to be the most appropriate caregivers.

If you are a father going through a divorce, you probably have questions and concerns regarding the child custody and visitation schedule. Mr. House’s law firm can ensure that your rights are protected as child custody is arranged and that you are awarded as much quality time with your child or children as possible.

Representation You Can Trust

To learn more about how the firm can help you protect your rights as a father, reach out online or via phone at 754-732-7482 to arrange a free consultation with a Fort Lauderdale father’s rights attorney.