I Am A Father In Florida But I Am Not On The Birth Certificate. What Are My Legal Rights?
If you were not married to the child’s mother at the time of the birth in Florida, you do not automatically have any legal rights.
In Florida, there are five ways to prove paternity.
The first is by being married to the mother at the time of the birth.
The second is by signing a form called an Acknowledgement of Paternity. This form will allow you to add your name to the birth certificate. The child’s mother can sign the form as well.
The third way is by DNA testing through an administrative process.
The fourth is through legitimation, which occurs when the father and mother marry each other after the child is born and update the child’s birth certificate.
The final way to prove paternity is via a judge.
Under Florida law, a man who is a biological father is not necessarily a “legal” father until one of the steps above are taken. The Acknowledgement of Paternity form is a relatively simple way to prove paternity, particularly if both parents are on good terms.
However, once a man has been established as both the biological father and the legal father, that does not mean the father then gets custody or has any rights to make decisions about the child.
Instead, those rights must be granted by a court. A father only has limited rights until a court gives him additional rights to the child. Establishing paternity does create the responsibility to provide a child with financial support.
If you are a biological father and you want to have access to your child, you will need to take certain steps in court in order to receive those rights.