Is Florida a Mother or Father State?

Our Tampa child custody attorney explains that while Florida may be considered a ‘mother state,’ fathers still have rights in legal proceedings.

When parents are married and go through a divorce, the court generally encourages each party to remain active and involved in the child’s life. Both have specific rights when it comes to being included in any child custody and time-sharing plans that are made. This is not the case when parents are unmarried. Florida is considered a mother state. This means that while fathers still have rights when it comes to their children, they may have to fight harder to assert these rights and to be a part of their child’s life. 

Mother’s Designated as Natural Guardians of Minor Children

Under Section 744.301 of the Florida Statutes when children are born out of wedlock, the mother is considered to be the natural guardian of the child and is entitled to primary residential care and custody, unless there is a court order specifying otherwise in place. This can put fathers in a difficult position.

One of the first steps for fathers in being able to have custody or visitation with their child is proving paternity. The Florida Department of Revenue advises that there are three ways this can be accomplished:

Once paternity has been established and the father’s name is listed on the child’s birth certificate, the father will then be required to pay child support and can then initiate child custody and visitation proceedings.

How Can Fathers be Included in Child Custody and Parenting Plans in Tampa?

Fathers in Tampa who want to be included in parenting plans and other child custody arrangements will need to file a legal petition through the Hillsborough County Court. Once your petition is filed, a hearing will be scheduled before a family court judge, who will issue a child custody and visitation order based on the evidence presented in the case. Factors the judge will consider before approving any parenting plans that are made include:

Reach Out to Our Tampa Child Custody Attorney

At the Law Offices of Mark G. Rodriguez, P.A., we are dedicated to protecting the rights of parents and their children. To find out more about what it means to live in a mother state and how this could impact your case, give us a call at 813-227-9642 or contact our Tampa child custody attorney online and request a consultation today.