Steps unwed FL fathers can take to be granted visitation, custody

The traditional family picture looks different today than it did in years past. Lots of families have mothers or father or who raise them from separate homes and separate lives. Just because a child's mother or father are not together does not mean that they can't be great parents. Being a great parent is about supporting your child and being there for them.

For unwed fathers, this process begins at establishing paternity. Unwed fathers have little to no rights to their child if a mother does not agree to sign off the father on a birth certificate or other official document. For some Orlando fathers, they have to take the hard way in order to be granted rights to their son or daughter. The first step to establish paternity is to determine that the father is in fact the child's biological father, which can be proven by submitting to a DNA test.

Once this is proven beyond a shadow of a doubt, the child's father may now petition for child custody or visitation rights. Visitation is not the same as having custody of a child, but it is a great step to take before getting to that point. Visitation allows court-ordered time that a father can have with his child. If parents are agreeing to co-parent, a father may be able to skip the visitation stage if he and the child's mother agree to a parenting plan.

This would put the child's father in a position where he would be sharing child custody with the mother. In an ideal world, the parents would opt for and be named by the court as suitable for a joint custody arrangement. The court looks at the best interests of the child when making these big decisions.

Source: family.findlaw.com, "Child Visitation, Child Custody and Unmarried Fathers," Accessed April 17, 2017

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