If you have fathered a child in Miami or elsewhere in Florida, you have rights. If you are seeking child custody, the attorneys at the Estevez- Pazos Law Firm can help. First, we must make sure paternity has been established. Next, we can petition the court for parental responsibility and parenting time (sometimes referred to generally as child custody). Th public policy in Florida is that children have frequent and continuing contact with both parents.
The first step towards any form of child custody is establishing paternity. Parties can accomplish this in one of several ways. If the mother is married at the time she gives birth, her husband is presumed the father of the child, and paternity is legally established. When unmarried couples have a baby, they can sign a legal document while still in the hospital, where the father acknowledges paternity. If this doesn’t happen, genetic testing can be court ordered. When the testing establishes the father of the child, paternity is considered established under the law.
Once you have established paternity, you can seek parental responsibility. Parental responsibility includes having a say in making decisions regarding the child. Shared parental responsibility is presumed, unless the court finds shared responsibility would be detrimental to the child. Convictions for domestic violence lead to a presumption shared parental responsibility would be detrimental to the child, however, this presumption can be rebutted in court.
When courts establish parental responsibility, they can do so in a few different ways. For example, upon hearing the expressed desires of both parents, the court may grant one parent ultimate responsibility for certain decisions relating to the child’s welfare. Alternatively, the court may choose to divide responsibilities between the parties. Typically, parental responsibility includes the following:
Parental responsibility refers to the choices parents make, about where the child goes to school, how an illness might be treated, what religion the child is raised in, and other parenting decisions. This has been referred to in the past as “legal custody.”
In Florida, the “parenting plan” governs the schedule during which each parent has physical custody of the child. When parents can agree to a parenting plan, their child custody attorney files the agreement with the court. When parents cannot agree, the courts will decide the parenting time schedule. Courts rely on a number of factors when deciding the parenting time schedule. Parenting time, or a time sharing schedule, has been referred to in the past as “physical custody.”
If you are a father seeking custody of your child, you have rights. You need a strong family law advocate on your side, fighting for your rights and the rights of your child. At the Estevez-Pazos Law Firm, we focus exclusively on family law issues. We can help you with your child custody issue. Contact us today at (305) 717-7130.