Orlando Fathers’ Rights Attorney
Fathers are essential to a child’s upbringing, and it is becoming more common for fathers to enforce their rights and be part of their children’s lives. Unfortunately, father’s rights are not automatic in some situations. You must fight for them, and a retaining a father’s rights attorney to assist with the process is critical.
Our lawyers at Greater Orlando Family Law have assisted many men in Orlando, Orange County and throughout Central Florida with father’s rights issues. We can offer advice and counsel from the very beginning, if it is necessary to first prove paternity. Our Orlando father’s rights attorneys can also help further down the road to represent you in connection with custody, visitation, and support.
Establishing Paternity in Florida
You cannot exercise your father’s rights until you are officially acknowledged as the father. There are three ways to establish paternity in Florida, otherwise known as parentage:
- If you are married to the child’s mother, there is a legal presumption that you are the father. You can sign a “Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity,” which is an agreement between you and the child’s mother.
- You may need to go to court for a paternity case, in which you file a petition to be recognized as the child’s father. A judge will order genetic testing for you, the child, and the child’s mother. If the results show that you are the father, your rights and responsibilities attach.
Rights and Responsibilities as a Father
Once you establish paternity through one of the above methods, you have full father’s rights, including:
- The right to seek custody, which encompasses the power to make important decisions regarding the child’s upbringing. Custody is also an issue related to where the child resides on a regular basis, though you can have decision-making authority regardless of whether the child lives with you.
- The right to visitation with the child. Parenting time is an important factor in building and maintaining a strong parent-child bond.
It is important to note that you will also carry certain financial responsibilities along with your father’s rights, primarily the obligation to pay child support to the residential parent. The amount will be determined by a complicated formula that takes your income and assets into account. Child support is a very important aspect of fathers’ rights, as violating a court’s order on the matter can lead to serious consequences.
Best Interests of the Child Standard
In general, your father’s rights regarding custody and visitation are determined according to the child’s best interests standard in Florida. The statutory factors include:
- Issues related to the child’s health and safety;
- The child’s emotional, social, and developmental needs;
- How well you and the child’s mother can engage in effective co-parenting skills, including communication; and,
- Many other considerations.
Discuss Your Situation with an Orlando Father’s Rights Lawyer
Your rights and responsibilities as a father are important to you, which means they are equally important to our attorneys Greater Orlando Family Law. We are happy to help you enforce your father’s rights, starting from establishing paternity if necessary. Please contact our Orlando office to set up a free 30-minute consultation with a father’s rights lawyer who can explain how the laws apply to your situation.