We have all seen those clips from the Maury Povich Show where men learn whether they are the father of their ex-girlfriend’s child. While it may seem funny to watch their reactions on TV, there is nothing funny about real life paternity issues. Paternity is one of the most important and delicate issues in family law. One of the most important issues concerning paternity is the child visitation rights of unwed fathers. There are currently countless men throughout Florida seeking visitation rights for their children. Fathers play an important role in the upbringing of their children. Unfortunately, many do not know the proper procedures to obtain visitation rights. Here are some important steps to follow.
File a Petition For Child Visitation
The first important step is to file a petition with a Florida family court. In the petition, it is important to make clear your intentions and your legal obligations to have visitation rights. First, it is important to separate child visitation from child custody. Those who are filing for custody are fighting for the right to designate residence of the child. Filing a petition for child visitation is the first important step to establish your right to spend time with your son or daughter.
Once the petition has been filed, it is then sent to the mother. She will then have the right to respond whether the petitioner is the biological father. Should he mother deny the request, the petitioner can file a request to submit a paternity test. A positive test will allow the case to move forward.
The Obstacles For Fathers
Traditionally, family courts in Florida have not always been kind to fathers. Even in divorce cases, fathers often get the short end of child custody cases. However, times are changing in the 21st century. More unwed fathers have been able to prove they are worthy of providing primary care and custody of their children. Before you file your petition for child visitation, make sure to discuss your strengths as a parent with your family law attorney. It often helps your lawyer prepare your argument child visitation.
Be Forthcoming With Your Family Law Attorney
When discussing your strengths as a parent, do not forget to talk about any perceived negative parenting qualities you may have. The court will closely examine any brushes with the law or any history of domestic abuse. These factors can severely hurt your chances for child visitation. Beware of any negative social media posts made about you or the mother. Once the court makes it ruling, the decision is usually final. However, fathers can also file petitions for any modifications should the decree be unsuitable.
The Wesley Chapel Family Law Attorneys at DHW Law Can Help
Florida family law can often get confusing and messy. It is vital to have an experienced and knowledgeable legal professional in your corner to protect your rights. Over the years, the Wesley Chapel family law attorneys at DHW Law have successfully helped many fathers obtain their rightful visitation rights of their children. Attorneys David and Gwen Walkowiak utilize a personable and comprehensive approach to help place each client in the best position to succeed. To learn more, consult their law office in Wesley Chapel by calling at 813-962-3176 and schedule a consultation to discuss your case.