A person who has a child out of wedlock that wants to address parental responsibility, time sharing or child support would would to file what is called a paternity case. That does not mean that a DNA test will be done; however, a party can request one. It is simply called a paternity case because the parties are not married. A paternity case can actually handle more than just parental responsibility and time sharing. If there are no existing child support orders it can also handle child support, medical insurance, uncovered medical expenses, extra curricular activities and the costs associated with them as well as the IRS tax dependency exemption to name a few.
Far too often do we hear from Fathers stating that the Mother is denying them contact with a child. In addition, they believe that because their name is on the birth certificate that established the Father’s paternity as a matter of law. However, that statement is not true. It is an acknowledgement of paternity that is filed with the vital statistics that has not been challenged within 60 days that would establish paternity as a matter of law. Fathers rights need to be invoked and you would do so by filing your paternity case.
Whether the father, who was never married to the mother is in fact the father as a matter of biology and or legally, the mere fact that a person is a father does not give that person any legal rights to the child. This is because under Fla. Stat. 742.031(2), absent a valid marriage between the parties or a court-ordered time-sharing schedule or parenting plan, the biological Father does not have any legal right to time-sharing with the child. What that means, is without a court order providing otherwise, the Mother has 100 percent time sharing and 100 percent decision-making regarding the child.
Does that mean that the Mother should deny the Father time-sharing? No, but if a Father wants to put a stop to it than he must file his case to establish and invoke his rights. In addition, the Mother needs to understand, that if paternity is not in dispute between the parties, the law allows the Court, at trial, to consider a parent’s failure to encourage and facilitate a close relationship between the child and the other parent.
This information does not form an attorney client privilege. Contact the Orlando Family Law Firm, Anderson & Ferrin, Attorneys at Law, PA at 407-412-7041 and speak with Michael Ferrin or Victoria Anderson to help you with your custody and or time-sharing issues today.