Florida dads play an important role throughout their child’s life. For unwed fathers who wish to have a relationship with their child, but have split with the mother, it is challenging. At The Minaya Law Offices, PLLC, we have experience representing clients who want visitation rights or joint custody of their child.

According to Verywell Family, establishing paternity is a priority. When a child is born to a committed couple, but outside of marriage, paternity is not legally presumed. As a result, the father has no rights regarding custody, visitation or in making decisions about the child’s welfare. Ensuring your name is on the birth certificate is the most straight forward way to prove you are the dad. If your ex contests your claim, you may petition the court and take a paternity test.

Once established as the father, you have the same rights as a married father and your child receives the same benefits, such as access to family history and becoming a beneficiary to your estate. As your child’s legal father, there is also a certain level of financial responsibility. The court establishes the amount of child support on a case-by-case basis, and the obligation is enforceable by government agencies.

Unless the mother is unfit, you are at a disadvantage in the custody process. Family courts often presume that living with the mother is the best situation for a child. Men who find themselves unwed fathers must take legal steps when petitioning for joint or shared custody. This process typically involves creating a parenting plan. It defines each parent’s roles and responsibilities and does not require cooperation from the mother. Visit our webpage for more information on this topic.