Florida Fathers’ Rights Law
Florida laws go far in protecting the rights of the minor children to have a healthy relationship with both their father and mother. However, a Florida father must take affirmative action if his rights are to be protected under Florida law. If a Florida father chooses to do nothing to protect his rights to his children and his right to a solid financial future after divorce or separation from the other parent, then the Florida father has no one to blame except himself!
Florida Fathers’ Rights Attorneys
Section 382.013(2)(a) of the Florida Statutes indicates if the mother is not married at the time of the child’s birth, the name of the putative father may not be entered on the child’s birth certificate unless an affidavit is signed by both the mother and the person to be named the father. An unmarried biological father may file a notarized claim of paternity form with the Florida Putative Father Registry of the Office of Vital Statistics of the Department of Health if he wishes to be notified of any adoption or dependency actions. If an unmarried biological father fails to take action or delays in taking action to establish his legal relationship to his child, his parental interests may be lost or greatly impacted by his inaction or delay.
If the mother of a child has not taken action to establish paternity of a child, the man who believes he is the biological father of a child has a right to file a court action to have his paternity established through paternity testing. Paternity must be established by operation of law, agreement of the parties or order of court before a father can seek to establish custody rights.
FL Fathers’ Custody Rights
As stated in the history of Florida custody laws section of this website, early custody laws primarily favored the father and then later changed to primarily favoring the mother. The good news for Florida’s fathers and children is that, currently under Florida law, there are no presumptions in favor of either parent with regard to custody and time-sharing rights; both parents stand on equal footing, and a parenting plan is devised solely on the basis of what type of schedule works best for the children.
In fact, the American Psychological Association (APA) Guidelines for Child Custody Evaluations in Family Law Proceedings state that “it is no longer the default assumption that child custody proceedings will produce the classic paradigm of sole custodian versus visiting parent. Many states recognize some form of joint or shared custody that affirms the decision-making and care-taking status of more than one adult.” Most child psychologists now agree that the best time-sharing plan for children involves some form of shared custody wherein the children receive the emotional and financial support of both parents, and the parents feel that they have an active role in their children’s lives.
So, what can Miami fathers do to maximize their time with their children following a separation or divorce?
- First, retain an experienced divorce lawyer for men and Miami fathers’ rights lawyer.
- Choose a new residence that is no more than a 30 minute drive to the children’s school.
- Make certain that the new home is large enough to accommodate the children when they will be living there with you.
- Adjust your work schedule to permit you to spend significant time with the children.
- Make plans to take the children to school and pick them up afterwards or arrange for day care for times when they will be with you.
- Be active with your children’s school, medical and dental care, and activities. Plan to be an active participant in your children’s lives.
- Be a parent, not a friend.
- Do not talk to your children about legal proceedings, court orders or your ill feelings towards the other parent.
- Do not use your children to convey messages to the other parent.
- Be flexible with the other parent regarding changes in the time-sharing parenting plan.
- Keep the other parent informed about information you learn during your time with the children.
- Be cordial to the other parent and any new relationship that they may develop.
- Always reassure the children that you and their mother love them very much!
In addition to recent changes regarding time sharing, Florida laws were also modified in 2008 to further protect fathers’ rights regarding decision making. The new Florida custody laws created shared parental responsibility, so all major decisions regarding the children’s education, health care, activities, religion and otherwise must be made jointly unless it is proven that there is a significant reason why the parents cannot jointly make decisions.
The reality is that the changes in Florida’s laws are truly designed to protect the best interests of the children in placing both parents on an equal footing and allowing the realities of the children’s schedules, both parent’s schedules and logistics dictate the time-sharing parenting plan that will be implemented for the family. With the addition of shared parental responsibility to Florida’s laws, a father can have a very substantial role in his children’s lives following separation or divorce if he is willing to make the sacrifices to do so and work with an experienced Miami fathers’ rights custody lawyer to negotiate an agreement for a proper time-sharing parenting plan. And, if an agreement cannot be reached, Dade and Broward County fathers must be willing to hire an experienced Miami fathers’ rights custody attorney and fight for their rights perhaps in a family court contested time-sharing trial.
Our Miami child custody lawyers fight for what is in the best interests of the minor children. If you are a good father who is actively involved with your children’s lives, let our team of Miami fathers’ rights attorneys fight to protect your parental rights after separation or divorce.
FL Child Support Laws and Father’s Rights
Our South Florida fathers’ rights law firm believes that it is the children’s right to have the emotional and financial support of both parents. What this means is that we believe that each Florida parent should be left with sufficient income and assets following a divorce or separation such that they will be able to adequately provide for the needs of the minor children while the children are in that parent’s home.
Recently, the Florida statutes have been amended to indicate that, if a parent who owes child support exercises more than 20 percent of the overnights in a calendar year with the children, that parent is entitled to request a reduction in the amount of their Florida child support order. This new amendment to Florida law significantly helps protect the rights of Florida fathers to have enough income in their household to provide for the needs of the minor children while exercising their time-sharing custody schedule!
Besides implications upon child support, the amount of time that each parent spends with their children can also impact Florida property distribution orders. Under Florida law, the family court can consider whether it is in the best interests to maintain the marital home for the benefit of the minor children and therefore award it temporarily or permanently to either parent in the equitable distribution process. If the parents are exercising joint time-sharing rights, the husband in a property distribution case can request that he be awarded the marital home if he is in a better financial position to maintain the marital property for the benefit of the children following the divorce. Fort Lauderdale and Miami fathers should be aware of this important factor in equitable distribution and child custody cases in Broward County and Dade County.
The above-mentioned factors as well as other legal arguments can be made by experienced South Florida fathers’ rights attorneys to significantly advance the rights of Dade County, Broward County and Monroe County fathers and husbands in their family law case. Contact our Miami fathers’ rights attorneys to advocate for your rights under Florida law.
Contact Our Dade County Fathers’ Rights Attorneys
Contact our Miami fathers’ rights attorneys at 305-222-7351 e-mail us to schedule an appointment to discuss your Dade County, Broward County or Monroe County fathers’ rights case. Our Miami fathers’ rights lawyers accept family law cases in Miami-Dade County, Broward County and Monroe County.
Consultations are available in person in Miami and several meeting locations throughout Dade and Broward Counties including Lincoln Road in Miami Beach, Galiano Street in Coral Gables, West Country Club Drive in Aventura, Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood and in the Homestead area. Appointments are also available by telephone and via Skype internet video chat.
Want to Learn More?
If you would like more information on family law topics, read the topics in our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).