Understanding Your Legal Rights As a Father

Fathers play an important role in the lives of their children. Whether they are involved with their children on a regular basis or not, it is essential that they understand their legal rights in the event of a divorce or separation. At Davis and Associates, we can provide you with an expert divorce attorney in Miami and guidance on the issues surrounding parental responsibilities, time-sharing schedules, child support, and other matters. Contact us today to learn how we can assist you.

Under Florida family law, a child’s father is recognized automatically when he is married to the mother at the time of the child’s birth. In other circumstances, however, paternity may become a question. Establishing paternity is essential for those who wish to pursue visitation and custody rights. It is also necessary for the transfer of certain public or private benefits, such as health or life insurance.

There are several ways to establish paternity, including signing an Acknowledgement of Paternity form or registering with the Putative Father Registry. These methods only create limited rights, however. A father who wishes to pursue visitation and/or custody rights must file a Petition for Paternity. This involves DNA testing and a court order that grants the father decision-making and time-sharing rights. Without such an order, the mother possesses sole custody and decision-making rights.

The court will then determine what time-sharing schedule, or “custody and responsibility” arrangement, is in the best interests of the child. The schedule lays out when the child will be with each parent, and what the parents’ respective responsibilities will be. It will also address where the child will sleep each night, and when he or she will be with each parent for school breaks, long weekends, holidays, etc.

While Florida courts have historically favored mothers in custody cases, this trend is slowly changing. Judges now recognize that the best interests of a child are served by both parents taking an active and involved role in their child’s life. Our fathers’ rights lawyers can represent you to ensure that the court is aware of your desire to have a meaningful role in your child’s life and that your legal rights are protected.

We will advocate for your rights, regardless of the type of legal proceedings you are involved in. We are familiar with all aspects of family law, from establishing parenting and custody arrangements to defending against false abuse allegations. Contact our office today to speak with a Miami fathers’ rights attorney about your specific situation.