Florida Paternity Rights After HB775

In Florida, when a child was born to unmarried parents, the laws traditionally favored the mother as the “natural guardian.” This granted mothers with the sole decision-making authority for the child, and required fathers to prove their paternity for rights. A recent development in the law has brought significant changes that aim to provide equal rights to unwed fathers. Florida House Bill 775 significantly impacts family law, and it’s important to understand what it could mean for your case.

Paternity Rights Before HB 775

Before this law, unmarried fathers had to file a paternity case to establish their legal paternity. Signing a birth certificate and an affidavit of paternity was only a presumption of paternity. A biological father was not a legal father until a Court adjudicated the father as the legal father during a paternity case or a child support case.

New Processes

The new laws make it much easier for parents to declare paternity. As long as both parents are in agreement, paternity can be established after signing the birth certificate and the affidavit of legal acknowledgement of paternity. These documents must be filed with the court and together they establish fathers as legal guardians along with the mother with all the natural rights of being a parent.

Impact On Family Law

Filing the legal acknowledgement form will give fathers rights and responsibilities related to decision-making and the upbringing of their children, such as religion, healthcare, and education. It promotes shared responsibility and equal parental rights from the very beginning, fostering healthier and more balanced relationships between parents and their children. However, it does not automatically address other aspects like timesharing and child support. For these specific issues, a petition for time-sharing and child support will still need to be filed.

In summary, HB 775 is a major leap forward for fathers. If you find yourself in a situation where you need to establish paternity, determine time sharing arrangements, or address child support matters, it’s important to seek the guidance of an experienced family law attorney. HB 775 may be a sign of progress, but there’s still work to be done. At Heather Byran Law, P.A., we understand the emotional and legal challenges that can arise in family law cases, and we are here to support you every step of the way. To learn more about the implications of Florida HB 775 and how it may impact your specific family law case, call our office at (863) 825-5309.

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Heather Bryan Law, P.A.

Our firm has experience defending Floridians against all sorts of criminal charges. Additionally, we are well-equipped to handle emotionally charged family law matters and devastating personal injury cases.

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