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Florida On Track for More Parental Rights to Unwed Fathers

We are in the midst of the 2023 legislative session, and both the Florida House and the Florida Senate are working on a variety of new proposed legislation in Tallahassee. One such proposed law change would give fathers, whose child or children are born out of wedlock, one step closer to gaining equal parental rights.

Currently, under Florida law, all parental rights to a child born out of wedlock go to the Mother, as the child’s natural guardian, unless and until the male who is the Father obtains a court order establishing his legal paternity to the child(ren), and then a court determination as to his rights regarding parental responsibility and to have timesharing with the child(ren). Under the new, proposed legislation, that legal presumption or standard would change, such that Fathers who acknowledge their paternity would, from the beginning, have equal input on a child’s education, health care, general welfare decisions for the child(ren), and easier access to time-sharing. It appears that in both the Florida House and Senate versions of the bill, it would require both the Mother and Father to sign affidavits acknowledging the paternity, and that both parents are the child(ren)’s natural guardian; if such affidavits are not signed, then the Mother would retain sole parental responsibility and have the ‘custody’ of the child(ren), until the Father sought court intervention and court determination on these issues. Stay tuned…

Rice Law Firm has help many individuals in Paternity, Dissolution of Marriage, as well as all other family law cases and matters. If you have such a case, and would like to consult and speak with our firm about your situation, please give our office a call.