Tampa Fathers’ Rights Attorney
If you are planning to get divorced, or you are separating from your partner with whom you share minor children, it is essential to have an experienced father’s rights lawyer on your side. Many fathers have legitimate concerns about child custody and time-sharing, as well as concerns about how courts make decisions about parental rights and responsibilities in relation to child support. It is critical for you to know that fathers have equal rights to mothers in Florida child custody and child support cases, and you should have a strong advocate on your side who can help to ensure that your rights and responsibilities as a parent are protected. Contact our experienced Tampa father’s rights attorney today to learn more about how we can assist you with your family law case.
Common Issues Involving Father’s Rights in Tampa
Fathers in Florida can face a wide range of legal issues in the area of family law. In cases where fathers are getting divorced or separating from a partner, it can be stressful to worry about how the court will decide child custody and how the court will determine child support obligations. There are a couple of important things for you to know here:
- When it comes to child custody and time-sharing, fathers and mothers have equal rights to parent their children, and courts do not make decisions about child custody or time-sharing based on the sex or gender of a parent. Instead, the court will look at a broad range of statutory factors concerning what type of custody and time-sharing arrangement is in the best interests of the child. None of those factors focus on the sex or gender of the parent, or misconceptions about the ability of a mother versus a father to provide nurturing care for a child.
- Many fathers who are not married to their child’s mother will need to establish paternity, and a father’s rights lawyer can assist you with this process. By establishing paternity, you can seek child custody and time-sharing, and you can have all legal rights associated with parenthood. We want to emphasize that a father who needs to establish paternity will not be at a disadvantage in a child custody or time-sharing case since the court will consider all relevant factors in making a determination about what type of arrangement is in the child’s best interests.
- Courts do not assume a mother is more capable of providing care for children, and the court cannot rely on these kinds of stereotypes or biases when making decisions about custody and time-sharing. The Florida Statutes emphasize that it is the state’s public policy that “each minor child has frequent and continuing contact with both parents after the parents separate or the marriage of the parties is dissolved and to encourage parents to share the rights and responsibilities, and joys, of childrearing.”
- Child support is decided based on an “income shares” method and formula, which means fathers cannot be required to pay more than mothers simply because of assumptions about a father’s earning capacity. The income shares model combines both parents’ net incomes and then assigns a portion of the total obligation to each parent.
Child Support Obligations For Unmarried Fathers
If you pursue a paternity test, and that test confirms that you are the father, you will likely be obligated to pay child support. In Florida, each parent is responsible for financially supporting their child. Florida follows an Incomes Shares Model when it comes to child support. Child support is based on the father’s income, the mother’s income, and the child’s needs, as per Florida statute 61.30. As a father, you want what is best for your child. You also need to protect your financial stability, which may mean keeping child support lower than the child’s mother wishes. We can help you establish your paternity, and gain custodial rights, and also ensure that the potential child support order that you are responsible for paying is fair to you as well.
Child Custody and Visitation Rights for Unmarried Fathers
If paternity has not been established, the mother has sole custody and can move wherever she would like with the child. However, Florida follows the Uniform Child-Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act, which establishes that a child’s home state is where they lived for at least six months prior any proceedings. This means a mother can leave the state with a child, but if a father petitions for paternity and child custody, then the court can order the child to be brought back to Florida. Once paternity has been established, a father can seek visitation or child custody. According to Florida Statute 61.13, the courts have no presumption for or against the father or mother of the child when it comes to creating a parenting plan. Furthermore, the state encourages frequent and continuing contact with both parents because it is normally in the best interest of the child.
Discuss Your Rights as a Father with a Skilled Tampa Family Law Attorney
If you are the father to a child but are not married to the child’s mother, you will need to establish paternity to gain rights as a parent. This includes being legally allowed to visit with your child and the responsibility of paying for their upbringing. Contact The Law Office of Laura A. Olson, P.A. today at 813-222-0888 to schedule a free consultation and learn more about how you can gain rights as a father to your child.