Orlando Custody & Visitation Law Blog

What is the putative father registry?

Although the courts seems to favor mothers over fathers when it comes to family law matters, fathers have specified rights they are entitled. In order to obtain these rights, though, action must be taken. For many men, the first and perhaps most important step is establishing paternity. Doing so gives rise to the right to seek visitation and child custody as well as child support. But what happens when a father thinks he might be the father of a child but isn't sure and has yet to establish paternity?

In these instances, it might be wise for a man to register with the putative father registry. Under Florida law, a man must register by fling a notarized claim of paternity document if he wishes to be notified of the potential adoption of his child. In order for this right to notice to go into effect, though, the notarized paternity form must be filed prior to any petition to terminate parental rights. The form can be filed at any other time, including before the child's birth.

Paternity is just one part of parental rights in Florida

A recent post here discussed the importance for children, parents and families to determine paternity in Florida. But, a paternity action involves not simply determining paternity alone. In addition to establishing the biological father of the child, determining paternity also involves child custody and child support determinations. Determining paternity establishes the biological father of a child when the parents are unmarried, but also has an impact on determining custody rights and child support, which is important for parents and children.

Once paternity has been determined, child custody, visitation and child support can also be established. Paternity may be determined through DNA testing and, in some circumstances, required documents. When setting child support, the family law court considers the income of the parents and if the parents share residential responsibility for the child, or if one parent has primary residential responsibility for the child.

Child custody and relocation in Florida

Moving is a part of life. With mobility enjoyed by many in today's world, new opportunities emerge, both for individuals' personal and professional lives. Generally speaking, moving is only challenging on a financial and emotional front. Especially when an individual has lived in one place for a significant period of time. Yet, when relocation involves a child of divorced parents, then the matter can evolve into a legal battle.

Under Florida law, a custodial parent can relocate with his or her child in one of two ways. The first, and easiest, is by obtaining consent to move with the child from the noncustodial parent. The agreement must specify the visitation arrangement for the noncustodial parent, though, and it should also clarify how the child will be transported for those visits. Generally speaking, once those matters are addressed, the relocation can occur.

The benefits of legally determining paternity in Florida

Paternity is important because it establishes the legal father of a child and, as such, provides legal rights to the child, father and mother. In addition to the emotional benefits that legally establishing paternity provides to a child, legally establishing paternity also provides important rights for the child. In addition to the child knowing the identity of the father, there are also several tangible benefits of a legal determination of paternity.

Rights children can obtain access to following a legal determination of paternity include: family medical history; having the father's name on their birth certificate; health or life insurance from either of their parents; support from both parents, including child support and medical support; and Social Security or veterans' benefits, as well as child support.

Preparing Floridians to confront child custody disputes

As we discussed previously on this blog, child custody and visitation determinations are made based on what supports the best interests of the child in question. This best interests standard can be comprised of many components, which leaves it ripe for legal argument. For example, considerations regarding which parent is better suited to support a child's educational and developmental needs, as well as which parent can sustain a nurturing relationship with the child, are relatively subjective. This means that those Floridians who find themselves amidst a child custody dispute need to ensure that they are crafting compelling legal arguments that support their side of the argument.

To do so, many Floridians turn to a skilled family law team, like the one at Amy L Beauchaine Attorney at Law. At our firm, we know what family law judges will take into consideration when making their child custody decisions, which allows us to help our clients tailor their legal strategy to better position them for success. We work with our clients to gather physical and character evidence, and we aggressively counter arguments made by the other side.

What are visitation rights?

Visitation rights are a concern most divorcing parents share and want to understand. Parents may have a variety of questions concerning how child custody and visitation will be determined. If the family law court has awarded reasonable visitation to the parents, it is hoped that the parents will work out a child custody and visitation plan that is in the best interests of the child and works best for their family.

It is both useful and encouraged for parents to work together when resolving divorce-related concerns, such as a visitation agreement and child custody arrangements. When parents are unable to work together, the family law court can determine a visitation schedule that allows the non-custodial parent, which refers to the parent the child does not live with, visitation. Circumstances such as a history of abuse can impact a visitation schedule and child custody order, so it is important to present it to the court if those circumstances exist.

Grandparents' rights is an emotional issue for some Floridians

Grandparents' rights can be a challenging issue for everyone involved. It can be challenging in Florida for grandparents to obtain visitation and custody rights concerning their grandchildren with a few fairly limited exceptions. One family is currently experiencing these challenges. Following the announcement that their daughter was pregnant, two grandparents relocated to Florida to be closer to their child and grandchild. A family feud last year, however, has prevented the closeness the grandparents envisioned.

The grandmother shares that she feared her daughter might do something drastic such as cutting off contact with her now 2-year old granddaughter. The woman is now part of a support group for grandparents in similar situations and is the leader and founder of her local chapter. The grandparents share the goal of making it easier for them to petition for visitation and custody rights under Florida law.

What are a father's legal rights?

As a father of a child who may not be married to the child's mother, you may wonder what your legal rights are and how to go about enforcing them. In general, biological parents have legal rights to custody and visitation of their children. While this is true, even if the parents are unmarried, the situation can sometimes get complicated quickly. As an unmarried father, it is important to understand your rights and how the family law court views child custody and visitation concerns.

In general, child custody and visitation is always determined by what is in the best interests of the child. When pursuing rights as a father, to begin with, it is important to establish paternity. Paternity can be established in different ways but usually is determined by a paternity test using DNA testing that the court can order. Either parent can initiate a paternity action to establish paternity with the help of a court order.

Post-divorce modifications help families

Life rarely stays the same following a divorce which is why the family law process and post-divorce modifications are so important. Following a divorce, couples of families may find the need to modify a child support order or a child custody and visitation order. Alternately, one former spouse may oppose changing a child support or child custody order so it is important to understand the resources the family law process provides to help the different concerns families may face.

Post-divorce modifications include a change to child custody, visitation or parenting plans; a change to child support; or a change to alimony or spousal support. Child custody modifications may be granted based on substantial changes such as a job change, change of work schedule, health concerns, the loss of employment or some other substantial change. In addition, a child support modifications may be granted based on income changes, a change in employment or a change to a parenting plan.

The basics of grandparents' rights

Grandparents' rights can be a challenging issue for both parents and grandparents in Orlando. Each state has different rules concerning grandparents' rights, so it is important to be familiar with the rules in the state where the grandparent is seeking child custody or visitation rights. In general, the legal system is fluid and changes to the law are always a possibility. This is also true of the area of grandparents' rights.

Grandparents may be able to obtain custody rights or visitation rights for their grandchildren if certain requirements in state statutes are met and after an evaluation of certain factors. The conditions for grandparents to obtain custody of grandchildren are different from those to obtain visitation of grandchildren. As always, any child custody or visitation concern is guided by what is in the best interests of the child; that is what the family law court will focus on when making a decision.

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