During divorce negotiations and the time following the final decree, issues with child custody and support can continue to be a contentious argument between parents. Fathers who are not married to the mothers of their children may also find themselves in contentious arguments with their child’s other parent and in need of legal advice from a Florida family law attorney. If paperwork does not list a child’s father at birth, fathers must file legal paperwork to claim legal paternity. Paternity is important for a father to receive visitation and/or custody rights regarding a child.
Legal experts who were interviewed stated that it is in the best interest of a father to express a desire for visitation and/or custody with a child as soon as possible. A delay could be interpreted by a judge as a lack of interest and may result in a ruling on custody issues in favor of the other parent. Typically, expressing interest begins with filing legitimization paperwork with a court to claim a biological child.
Despite the fact that more and more families form family units differently, mothers remain 80 percent of the custodial parents when parents do not live together. Fathers often must learn to juggle work, child support payments and visitation with their children. Experts recommend if a father is struggling to make court-ordered child support payments to seek the advice of an attorney even though it may seem counterintuitive to pay for an attorney in the midst of financial stress. An attorney can help a father understand how to request lower payments during periods of financial stress and help a father avoid jail time if no payments are made.
If fathers have a desire to spend more time with their children or wish to have more custody rights, the right Florida law attorney can help them make a request in court. In addition, when paternity is not clear, an attorney can advise how to file the necessary paperwork and handle any related legal matters. Once paternity is formally established, the attorney can help pursue formal custody and/or visitation rights.