Temporary relief is a common issue. Frequently we have clients that need immediate resolutions prior to a final order in their case, such as child support. Temporary motions are frequently filed with the Court to provide parties with some relief while their case is still pending.
How to get full Custody of their children is a topic of conversation I have multiple times each week with unmarried moms who want to know their rights. This article is intended to educate these moms. Before I get started, please note that the world of family law is VERY fact specific. It is important that you contact a lawyer for advice. If you are in Broward County, or Miami Dade County, we would be happy to provide you a free consultation on these issues.
This post is a follow up to an earlier post which began to explore this topic. It is difficult to understand, and maybe more difficult to explain, what rights a father has to his child after he executes an Acknowledgment of Paternity form and before he gains "custody" rights in Court. What rights could a father have if they do not include the rights to either see the child (time-sharing) or make decisions for the child (parental responsibility)?
Before we get started it is important to know that I am confused and so are most attorneys, many Judges and basically all non-legal lay people about Paternity law in Florida. So, this blog and the one to follow may create more questions than answers, but hopefully, brings some level of enlightenment to this complicated and bizarre area of law.
Mediation is required in most family law cases which involve children in Florida, inclusing divorces. It is a process where the parties come together with the help of their attorneys (if they have attorneys) and a neutral 3rd person called a mediator. the purpose is to attempt to work out an agreement as to all or some of the issues. In most family cases mediation will come about 1/2 way through a case. As an attorney, I prefer to mediate earlier in cases, because, if parties are inclined to settle, settling early can decrease total attorney's fees, animosity between the parties and chaos in the family. It also provides valuable information on the case for both sides.
Custody Cases sometimes involve hair follicle drug test, if you have been asked to take one, here is what you should know:
Under Florida Statute 744.301 a Mother of a child born out of wedlock (unmarried) is the natural guardian of the child. As such, she has ALL of the rights to that child. NOTHING changes this as a fact for unmarried dads EXCEPT filing a Petition for Paternity and requesting that the Court grants you Parental Responsibility (decision making rights) and Timesharing ("custody"). The name of the Petition - Petition for Paternity - is confusing. It leads dad's - and moms - to believe that it is related to DNA testing or who the biological dad is. This is not an accurate understanding - we simply call "custody" actions for unmarried couples "paternity actions".