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Your right to request custody as the father of a child

| Mar 12, 2021 | Paternal Rights |

Breakups can be hard on multiple levels. They’re particularly troubling when finances, living arrangements and kids are involved, however. The latter can be even more challenging to cope with if you’ve never formalized your child’s paternity.

You may find yourself in a power struggle with your co-parent, with your child being pushed around like a pawn. If your ex is intentionally keeping your child from you, then you’ll be happy to know that there is hope. You can petition a judge for custody of your son or daughter. 

Custodial rights and unmarried fathers

The law automatically sees moms as their child’s bona fide parent with all the rights that entails from the minute their child is born. Lawmakers don’t view a father’s rights similarly unless they’re married to the child’s mom at the time of the birth. 

Almost every state, including Florida, requires unmarried fathers to establish their paternity before exercising their parental right to custody. It’s only once a dad has done this that they can request visitation or custodial rights with their child. 

Requesting custody or visitation as an unmarried father

The court aims to make decisions that they believe are in a child’s best interests — and that usually means involving both parents in their child’s life as much as possible. 

If a father has just established paternity over their child, the court may require a dad to take parenting classes or order supervised visitation or reunification therapy to ensure that he’s well-prepared to take on the challenges that come with being a parent. 

The main thing to remember, however, is this: You need to establish your paternity as quickly as possible and assert your rights before too much time goes by. The longer you go without making those connections, the harder it will be to get fair custody or visitation.

An attorney can advise you of the steps you’ll need to take in Florida to establish paternity. Your lawyer can then provide you with guidance on how to secure custody here in your West Palm Beach case.