If you are a father and wish to gain custody or visitation of your child that was born out of wedlock, then you must first establish paternity in the state of Florida. Even though it is assumed that a woman and man are the biological parents of any child born during the marriage – since they would both be listed as “parent” on the child’s birth certificate – this is not the case for children born out of wedlock.
There’s no way for a court to determine who the child’s biological father is until that person has established paternity with DNA testing. Until that point, the person claiming to be the father does not have any legal rights.
How Paternity Helps when Negotiating Parenting Time
If a man has not established paternity, it means they don’t have any legal standing to negotiate parenting time with their child. While each of the parents can work out an agreeable visitation schedule without the court’s involvement, if the mother allows it, this is not considered an agreement that is legally binding. As a result, it would not be enforceable by the court. If the father wants the agreement to be legally binding, they must establish paternity.
This means unless the mother agrees to cooperate, the father would not have the ability to visit their own child. While some consider this rule/law unfair, the only way to overcome it is by participating in the proper DNA testing.
Requesting Visitation after Paternity is Established
After the paternity of the father is established, they are not done and visitation is not automatically awarded. They would also have to request visitation rights with the court. This is because the DNA test results alone aren’t enough to show the court that the father is fit to raise the child.
This is a process that can be extremely challenging, especially if the mother is uncooperative. As a result, the father should contact a family law attorney in Florida for help. An experienced family law attorney understands the law and what is needed to prove a father is fit and should receive visitation with their biological child. Even though the process can seem daunting and complicated, it is well worth it in the long run and will help ensure the best interest of the child.
Hiring an Attorney for Help with Paternity Issues
If you are trying to gain visitation or custody rights to see your biological child, you need the help of a family law professional. This legal professional will be able to review the facts of your case to determine what needs to be done to help you achieve a successful outcome.
If you are ready to get started, contact the Florida family law attorneys at the Estevez-Pazos Law Firm by calling 305-717-7130 for more information.