If you are the parent of a child born out of wedlock (i.e., unmarried to the other biological parent), what are your rights and responsibilities as a parent of the child? If you are the mother of a child born out of wedlock, can you withhold visitation rights from the father?
If you are the father of a child born out of wedlock, what are your parental rights? If your name does not appear on the birth certificate as the child’s father, how can you obtain and exercise your legal parental rights?
If you are the parent of a child who was not conceived or born during a marriage, Florida law treats the mother different from the father. If you are the mother of a child born out of wedlock, you do not have to give the father any visitation rights until a Judge determines the paternity of the father. However, you can still request child support from the father, through a proceeding with the Department of Revenue.
The Department of Revenue has the power to order a parent to pay child support but cannot enforce visitation or time-sharing. Only a family law judge has the legal authority to issue orders enforcing visitation or a time-sharing schedule.
If you are the father of a child born outside of wedlock or marriage, to claim your rights, you must seek or ask a Judge to determine you are the father through a Petition to Determine Paternity.
In the Petition to Determine Paternity, a judge will decide whether or not you are the father through a paternity test or acknowledgment by the mother. Then the Judge can grant or give you the right to see your child and be in the child’s life.
Just because your name appears on the birth certificate does not give you the right to be a part of your child’s life; you must seek a court determination. Before this, the mother may decide she will not allow you to see your child.
Also, be aware that if you have not filed and served a Petition to Determine Paternity, the mother can move out of the city, county, or state, which could prevent you from seeing your child. Nevertheless, the mother can seek child support at any time through a Department of Revenue proceeding, even when you have no legal rights to see your child!
The Soto Law Office, P.A. is a dynamic and trustworthy law firm that serves the Family Law legal needs of those in Central Florida. Our team listens, cares, and provides excellent client service.
Contact Attorney Kimberly M. Soto and her staff at 321.972.2279 to discuss your paternity concerns or any other issues you may have.