How does Florida define paternity?

In many cases, fathers fear that they will face gender discrimination in the courts when it comes to child custody matters. This leads to concern about whether or not they will get the parenting time they deserve with their children in the event of a divorce. However, there are some fathers who may struggle to spend any time with their children at all because they are not recognized as the actual father of the child.

The actual definition of a father varies by state, but Florida requires written consent of a man who acknowledges himself as the father. This means that if a child is conceived in a marriage, if courts establish a man to be the father of a child or if he files an affidavit of paternity, then he will need to execute written consent. But for cases of unmarried parents, this process is even more critical.

By providing written consent acknowledging paternity of a child, the biological father of a child is still legally recognized as the father. Such a signing must take place in a competent witness' presence, and meet other legal requirements such as filing with the Office of Vital Statistics. If an unmarried man fails to provide this written consent, but he is still considered to be the biological father of the child, then he will be referred to as the putative father.

In the case of unmarried couples, it can be even more difficult for fathers to have any kind of relationships with their children. However, being recognized by the law as the child's father will help you make a case for your paternity, potentially allowing you a meaningful relationship with your child. Providing written acknowledgment of the child at the time of the birth is extremely important for this reason. If you are a Florida father struggling with a custody battle, consider meeting with an attorney to help you make a case for your custodial rights.

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