Unmarried fathers have the same rights as any parents under Florida law. However, they have to establish their paternity before they can ask for parenting time or custody of their children.
Some men put off establishing custody because they think it will be difficult or stressful. They imagine that the only option is to go to court, which might further damage the relationship with the mother of their child.
While many paternity cases do end up in family court, they don’t necessarily have to lead to litigation. You and the mother of your child can agree to work together instead of fighting against each other so that you can be there for your kid.
You can be the official father from day one
If you are on good terms with the mother of your child, she might agree to fill out a paternity acknowledgment at the hospital after your child’s birth. With this simple form, your name will be on the birth certificate from your child’s earliest days of life.
You can establish paternity at any time until your child is 18
Maybe you weren’t present at the hospital or have only recently repaired your relationship with the mother of your children. The good news is that you still don’t have to go to court to put your name on the birth certificate and become an officially recognized father in the state of Florida.
You and the mother can fill out an Acknowledgment of Paternity form and submit it to the state to have the birth certificate for your child updated appropriately. Once you have your name on your child’s birth certificate, you can assert all the standard rights a Florida parent has.
Understanding the requirements for establishing paternity can help you feel confident about stepping up for your children.