Fathers’ Rights in a Divorce/Custody Dispute
In many divorce cases, it may seem that the mother has all the rights when it comes to child custody. Far too frequently, the family law system tends to ignore dads’ rights. While most fathers want to remain actively involved in their children’s lives after the divorce is settled, many don’t receive the desired results.
Regardless of the issue, while there are numerous lawyers for dads out there, it is crucial to find an experienced, knowledgeable, and empathetic men’s divorce lawyer who understands your rights and the extreme importance in maintaining a positive relationship with your children.
Do Fathers Have Rights?
In a word: yes. Fathers have just as many rights as do mothers; however, it may seem that the playing field is not level even though it is imperative to maintain a close relationship between a dad and his children. We know that divorce is a difficult and stressful time in its own respect without having the added concerns about whether and how frequently you will be able to see your child(ren).
Florida Statutes § 61.13(2)(c)(3)—the time-sharing law—recognizes that children benefit from maintaining frequent contact with both parents and having both parents actively participating in parental decision-making. Thus, family court judges base their decisions on what is in the best interests of the children after considering all relevant factors. Unless there is a good reason why it wouldn’t be in the children’s best interests to maintain a relationship with their dad, fathers’ rights are regarded as important as mothers’ rights.
How is Paternity Established?
When an unmarried couple has a child, establishing the father’s biological and legal paternity as soon as possible protects all parties involved.
A paternity action can be brought by the child’s mother, alleged father, child’s legal representative, and/or the Florida Department of Revenue.
There are several methods for establishing paternity. The first is via an Affidavit of Paternity wherein the father signs a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity that becomes legally binding 60 days after it is signed. By signing this acknowledgement, both parents are affirming under oath that the father is the child’s legal father and entitled to all of the rights and responsibilities that come with parentage.
Another way to establish paternity is through marriage. If a child’s parents are married at the time of the child’s birth, the husband is considered to be the child’s legal father regardless of whether he is the biological father or not.
Determining biological paternity occurs via a DNA test. If the supposed father is proven to be the child’s biological father, then the Florida Department of Revenue will issue an Administrative Order of Paternity and direct the Florida Office of Vital Statistics to add the father’s name to the child’s birth certificate.
A DNA test can also help in disestablishing paternity in cases where a man is named on the birth certificate but is not the baby’s biological father. This protects him against being held legally responsible for the child’s care and upbringing.
Fathers’ Rights Issues We Can Help With
As a father, you have numerous rights in your divorce and custody case with which a skilled fathers’ rights lawyer can help. Among these include:
- Custody—Custody is defined as the care, control, and maintenance of a child(ren) awarded by a court to either or both parents following a divorce.
- Child support—Child support is payment to the noncustodial parent to help with the costs of raising the couple’s child(ren).
- Spousal support—Also known as alimony, spousal support is court-ordered payment to support an ex-spouse following a divorce, or to a current spouse during divorce proceedings.
- Prenuptial agreements—Prenuptial agreements are written contracts between two people before getting married which describe possession of assets, future earnings, division and control of property, and other issues which may arise if the marriage is later dissolved.
Additional potential fathers’ rights for which you may need a skilled fathers’ rights lawyer include:
- Visiting your child(ren) during scheduled visitation periods
- Planning activities with your child(ren)
- Getting an injunction against the mother to prevent her moving out of state with your child(ren)
- Alerting the court if the mother fails to abide by the divorce and custody terms
- Any other issue that may jeopardize your post-divorce relationship with your child(ren)
Frost Law is Here to Help Through this Difficult Time
Divorce is a difficult enough time and worrying about your child(ren) and your own rights adds extra stress. Dissolving a marriage, dividing property, and creating custody and visitation schedules while maintaining a positive relationship with the child(ren)—and hopefully the ex-spouse—is not only time-consuming but is also mentally exhausting and emotionally draining.
In trying times such as these, finding an experienced and knowledgeable attorney in the Orlando area who can help you navigate these rough waters is also challenging. We here at Frost Law have considerable experience handling all types of divorce and child custody cases and will help you fight for your rights. Let us help you.
Call us today at 407-670-5569 or contact us on our website for a free consultation about your case.