Experienced Divorce Attorneys Help Settle Child Custody and Support Issues for Biological Parents in Florida
When parents are not married, but are working out child custody and support for minor children, parentage must be established in order for the courts to rule. Determining parentage and the role it plays depends on the marital status and living arrangement of the two biological parents.
When the Mother is Married to a Man, but Pregnant with Another Man’s Baby
If a woman is already married, but pregnant with another man’s baby, it is important to realize that paternity does not always play a critical role in support or custody. In most states, there is a presumption of paternity. This means that the husband assumes responsibility, because the child is a product of the marriage.
The biological father must petition the court for paternity within a set amount of time. Failure to do so means that they forfeit paternal rights and the woman’s spouse becomes the legal parent. The husband is then the legal father for life.
There is an exception to this time limit. For example, a man discovers that the child is not his several years later. In these types of cases, the statute for filing a paternity request with the court starts at the time of discovery, not the child’s date of birth.
In this type of situation, if the couple were to divorce, the husband could still receive custody of the child or be forced to pay child support – as long as the courts consider him the “legal father.”
When the Mother is Unmarried
If an unwed mother wishes to seek child support, she must establish parentage. The biological father must also establish parentage if he wishes to fight for custody or visitation rights with the child.
Establishing paternity is important for the welfare of the child. Without paternity, a child could not access the biological father’s medical records or receive government benefits that the father is qualified to receive.
Child’s Best Interest Overrules Biology
The court has always emphasized the importance of the child’s best interests. Therefore, a biological father is not automatically granted custody because of genetics (and neither is a mother). Instead, the court weighs the child’s lifestyle at one house, values, stability, and more.
A family court judge could award custody to individuals other than biological parents, as well – such as grandparents or even family friends.
Speak with an Attorney Regarding Custody Rights and Paternity
If you are a single mother or a single father who needs to establish parentage in order to collect child support or receive visitation, you need a family law attorney by your side. The family law team at Beller & Bustamante, P.L. can assist you. Schedule a consultation with one of our family law attorneys now by calling 904-288-4414 or requesting more information online.