Even if you never married the mother of your child, you do have rights as a father. Knowing your rights is the first step to exercising them. Read on to learn about the top 3 things we wish every client knew before retaining us as their custody lawyer in Hernando County, FL.
Establishing Paternity is Crucial
Under Florida law, an unmarried father has no legal rights to custody, timesharing, and so on without established paternity. The easy way to establish paternity as an unwed father is to be present at birth and fill out your name on the birth certificate. If that’s not possible, you can submit a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity form. However, the mother may contest it. Should that happen, it’s best to talk to an attorney about your next steps.
Expect an Uphill Battle If You Want Full Custody
Any custody lawyer will tell you that it’s a lot more difficult for a father to be awarded full custody than a mother. Our society’s gender roles bias our notions of what a good caregiver looks like. Unless the mother is obviously and extremely unfit, you’ll need to start working with an attorney as soon as possible to bolster your chances of success.
You Have Options for Child Support
Child support payments should be a fair contribution. If your financial situation has changed or you believe the initial decision was off-base, talk to a child support and custody lawyer to explore your options. The sooner you act, the sooner you can get financial relief.