Married parents can run into problems over the custody of their children when they choose to separate or go through divorce. However, unmarried parents who end their relationships with their children’s other parents also experience the trials of these legal problems. Child custody issues can arise after the birth of a child if a presumptive Florida father is alleged to lack paternity over a newborn.

While a child’s mother is easy to identify through the birth process, the parentage of the child’s father may not be as clear. In some cases, a mother may acknowledge the father of her child and include his name on the birth record of the newborn. However, if a mother does not or will not make such an acknowledgement, the presumptive father may have to establish paternity in another way.

Paternity tests compare the genetic information of a presumptive father to that of his presumptive child. If the genetic information yields a sufficient match, then the man may be proven to be the child’s father. Without this proof, a man may not be able to seek custody or visitation time with the youth.

In Florida, both of a child’s parents are expected to contribute to their child’s needs and, unless the circumstances of the case warrant a different outcome, both parents are expected to share time with their offspring. This can result in parents each having the child stay with them for a number of days per week or month, or working out a different distribution of time that meets the child’s needs.

Without an acknowledgement or establishment of paternity, a man may not have a chance to play an important role in the life of his child through custody or visitation. Unmarried fathers who are facing challenges as they seek to find a place in their children’s lives can contact family law attorneys with their questions. This post does not provide any legal advice and should not be relied on as specific or individual guidance.