Under Florida law, there is a presumption that if a married couple has a child, that child is the child of both parents. Further, if a child is born out of wedlock, there is no presumption of fatherhood. Even if a "father" signs the birth certificate, he is not necessarily legally the father until a Final Judgment of Paternity has been entered.
"Establishing paternity is an important step towards protecting your rights. I will use my experience to help you protect those rights."
We represent mothers and fathers.
Paternity suits filed by both mothers and fathers are most often filed to establish time sharing or visitation and to have the father legally named as the child's father. We begin the process by filing a Petition for Paternity with the court. If paternity is disputed, then DNA is requested. If the test establishes paternity, then a parenting plan and child support can be established.
both parents have rights
If you are a father who seeks to have paternity established, and want more time with your child, but the mother is standing in the way, you need an advocate to fight for you. There are situations where the mother plays the unjustifiable role of "gatekeeper," preventing the children from enjoying a meaningful relationship with their father, because his rights are not established. Or worse, she engages in "parental alienation," which causes significant harm to the relationship between the children and their father. In these cases, a mother's actions are driven by her own pain or anger from the relationship rather than any motivation concerning the best interests of the children.
In cases where the mother is playing gatekeeper and or engaging in parental alienation, the father needs an attorney who will protect his rights and the children from these unfortunate practices. Nothing in the law says that all fathers should automatically have equal time-sharing. But, nor does the law give any inherent advantage to the mother. Under the law, courts are required to weigh the merits of each party based on the parenting factors, the child or children, the family history, and conduct of each parent. If your rights as a father have been wrongfully compromised by gatekeeping or parental alienation, contact a Lakeland attorney with the skills, compassion, and will to protect you.
If you are facing a divorce, child custody case, parenting plan evaluation, or custody modification in Lakeland or anywhere in Polk County, please contact us online or call us at (863) 825-5309 for a consultation with Lakeland Family Law Attorney Heather Bryan regarding your rights.