Unmarried mothers rights in Florida is an important issue that is addressed in this article. Children are born to couples at various times in their life, with many bundles of joy arriving before the official wedding.

When this happens, what are the parental and custody rights of the mother?

Find out in this article and make the best decisions for the well being of your baby!

Parental Rights in Florida To Unmarried Couples

When it comes to parental rights in Florida, never assume that visiting or child custody rights are automatically granted to both parents after the birth of a child. In Florida, the mother is the natural guardian of a child born out of wedlock.

A guardian is a person who has been entrusted with the custody and control of another person by the law. And, in this state, the child’s legal custody is automatically given to the unwed mother. In the state of Florida, naming the father on a birth certificate does not give him any rights.

However, there is no need to file a paternity action if unmarried parents eventually marry, because the marriage will legalize the child. The father will automatically become the legal father of the kid and will have the same parental rights as the mother.

There are various advantages to marriage, including bigger tax deductions, having someone to navigate life with, property rights, children and so on.

But what about unmarried couples’ rights? 

Unmarried Couples’ Rights

When an unmarried couple has a child in Florida, the mother has full legal custody of the child. Until a circuit court decides who the child’s legal father is, the mother has complete control over the child’s life. The woman has complete control over the child’s whereabouts, medical treatment, and even whether or not the child can see his biological father.

Although many people feel that having their child’s father’s name on the birth certificate provides legality to the relationship, this is not the case. In order to be recognized as the child’s legal father and keep custody of the child, the father must register with Florida’s Putative Father Registry in order to maintain his right to notice and consent in the case of an adoption or custody fight.

A DNA test will also be required of the father. While this does not guarantee the father’s rights or time sharing, it does put him one step closer to becoming the legal father of the child. Once the father’s legitimacy is established, he can file a paternity case with the court, and the court will issue a parenting plan, which is a written directive outlining each parent’s rights and obligations to the kid.

The court will next determine how many nights the youngster spends with the mother and father each year. A child support amount will be computed using this information, as well as each parent’s monthly income and child costs, in accordance with the Florida Child Support Guidelines.

Florida Child Custody Laws for Unmarried Parents

Florida custody laws for unmarried parents grant each parent equal power over the child’s life decisions (such as schooling and medical care), as well as the legal obligation for both parents to care for and maintain the child.

But, as mentioned above, if an unmarried couple gets separated, the mother will automatically receive legal custody of the child. When parting from their partner, unmarried parents must understand their rights. Here’s a basic rundown of how custody works in Florida for unmarried parents to give you a better understanding of what to expect.

Establishing Paternity

In most circumstances, according to unmarried child custody laws in Florida, paternity must be established before the unwed father is granted rights in Florida. If paternity is not confirmed, the mother is under no obligation to allow the father visitation; nevertheless, this does not rule out alternative options for the father in this situation.

The Parenting Plan

Once paternity is established by following the above-mentioned process, the court procedures will begin. Before going to court, each parent must write a parenting plan to present to the judge, which outlines the parent’s wishes for the kid as well as his or her plans for future childcare. When it comes to assigning custody and time-sharing, the judge will have to determine in the best interests of the child.

Primary or Joint Custody?

A judge may choose to give one parent primary custody while allowing the other parent visitation, depending on each parent’s wishes and financial condition, although joint custody is often the preferred choice, allowing both parents to have an equal role in the child’s upbringing.

Remember that Florida law likes to give each biological parent equal custody, thus once paternity is confirmed, time sharing rights will almost certainly be established.

Physical custody will be decided as well. In Florida, this was previously known as visitation, but our state now refers to it as “time sharing” or “parenting plan.” Physical custody can be given to one parent (sole custody) or both parents (joint custody).

The best interest of the child is one of Florida’s guiding concepts. Decisions may be based on factors like criminal history, drug usage and domestic violence, but they will not be based on either parent’s sex.

Child Support Rights in Florida

If one parent is awarded primary custody of the kid, the other parent may be required to pay child support. Child support will be determined based on a number of variables, including each parent’s income and costs.

The Child Support Guidelines Worksheet in Florida will also be used to figure out how much each spouse will have to pay each month. If a parent does not pay the right amount of child support or does not pay it on time, know that the law in Florida has a series of instruments to coerce the parent to comply.

If the woman having mother’s custody rights in Florida applies for federal assistance and does not apply for child support from the father of her children, the court can nevertheless ask for child support.

Applications for these programs (welfare, Medicaid, and so on) demand information regarding the father of her child or children. If a mother fails to answer the question or answers dishonestly, the application will be denied.

If you believe that establishing paternity and filing for child support will benefit your child, you have the right to do so in a timely and cost-effective manner. When an unmarried couple with children separates, dealing with issues like paternity, custody and child support can be difficult. As a result, if you’re leaving your partner and there are children involved, you should see an attorney to safeguard your rights as you move forward.

Unmarried Fathers Rights Florida

If you fathered a child outside of marriage, you must petition the court for your parental rights. If you have not yet been ordered to pay child support in Florida, you must file a Petition to Determine Paternity and for Related Relief with the Clerk of Court for the appropriate county.

If you’ve previously been ordered to pay child support but haven’t been assigned your rights (as it is often the case), you’ll need to submit a Petition to Establish Time Sharing and Shared Parental Responsibility. The ultimate goal is to establish paternity in a court of law and obtain parental rights and, consequently, time with your child.

The judge will decide whether the child lives mostly with you or with the child’s mother. The court must examine a variety of considerations outlined in Section 61.13 of the Florida Statutes while making that determination.

There is no longer “child custody” or “visitation” in Florida. The concept of “time sharing” has taken the place of those ideas. Even if the child does not live with you full-time, you will have “time sharing” with the child according to a timetable. The opposing party can no longer withhold the child from you if you have a court-ordered time sharing schedule. They risk being found in contempt of the court if they do so.

Conclusion

In conclusion, both parents will be considered equal and be given “shared parenting responsibility” regardless of whether the child resides primarily with one parent or the other. In a shared parental responsibility situation, each parent has an equal say in the child’s major parenting decisions.

Further, we conclude the following after reading this article:

  • In Florida, the mother is the natural guardian of a child born out of wedlock. As such, she has full legal custody of the child.
  • There is no need to file a paternity action if unmarried parents marry, because the marriage will legalize the child. The father will automatically become the legal father of the kid and will have the same parental rights as the mother.
  • In order to be recognized as the child’s legal father and keep custody of the child, the father must register with Florida’s Putative Father Registry in order to maintain his right to notice and consent in the case of an adoption or custody fight.
  • A DNA test will also be required of the father. While this does not guarantee the father’s rights or time sharing, it does put him one step closer to becoming the legal father of the child.
  • If you are separating from your partner and there are children involved, you should see an attorney to safeguard your rights as you move forward.

We hope that you can now make legally informed choices when it comes to parental and custody rights of unmarried mothers in Florida.

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