Skilled Fathers’ Rights Attorneys Serving Clients in Tampa
If you are the unmarried father of a child in Florida, knowing what your rights are in regards to your child can be confusing. At the Law Offices of Mark G. Rodriguez, P.A., our Tampa and South Tampa fathers’ rights lawyer cares about helping you to preserve your relationship with your child, and can guide you through your legal options. Whether you are unmarried to your child’s mother or are seeking a separation or divorce and are unsure of what your rights are regarding your child, we can help.
Establishing Paternity: A Key Part of Fathers’ Rights in Tampa
Before you can pursue custody or visitation with your child, it is essential that you establish paternity. Establishing paternity means establishing legal parentage, and is necessary for acquiring any legal protections or rights regarding your relationship with your child. In Florida, paternity can be established in three ways, according to the Florida Department of Revenue:
– In the hospital/at the time of birth. At the time of the child’s birth, both parents automatically have legal parental rights over the child if the parents are married. If parents are not married, then parents can sign an acknowledgement of paternity in the hospital at the time of the child’s birth.
– By signing an acknowledgement of paternity. If paternity is not acknowledged at the time of a child’s birth, parents can voluntarily establish paternity at any time by signing an acknowledgement of paternity form at a later time.
– By a court order. If either party disagrees about paternity, a court order can declare paternity following genetic testing.
You Have the Same Rights as Your Child’s Mother
Once paternity is established, you and your child’s mother have the same rights. This means that you have an equal right to seek custody of, or visitation with, your child. It also means that you have an equal obligation to support your child financially, which may mean making child support payments if you do not share custody, or have joint custody.
Helping You to Protect Your Rights as a Father
As a father in Florida who is not married to, or who is divorcing or separating from, your child’s mother, it can feel as though the odds are stacked against you. However, courts are not permitted to discriminate against fathers when it comes to matters regarding the child; all custody decisions must be made within the child’s best interests, which are determined by various factors.
South Tampa family law attorney Mark G. Rodriguez knows how challenging navigating the family law system can be, and how confusing understanding your rights as a father is. If you want to seek custody or visitation with your child but are not sure how, have not established paternity, or are in disagreement with the child’s mother, we can help. To schedule an initial consultation with the Law Offices of Mark G. Rodriguez, P.A., contact us online or by phone today.