Orlando Paternity Attorney – Fathers’ Rights
Orlando family law attorney bringing fathers closer to their children
The Law Offices of Steve W. Marsee assists fathers in Orlando, Florida, helping them retain their full parental rights even in complex paternity matters. Matters involving children can be some of the most difficult and emotional legal issues faced by parents, requiring the assistance of paternity rights lawyers with exceptional experience and skills. Through compassionate, yet assertive, representation in mediation and trials, Mr. Marsee helps his clients obtain custody and support arrangements that benefit both parent and child. Contact our experienced Orlando paternity attorney today.
As a father considering filing for divorce or currently working through the divorce process, you might be worried that divorcing your spouse means that you will be demoted from a full-time parent to a part-time caregiver. Do not allow yourself to think this way. As a father, you have as much of a right to seek custody of your children and even child support from your partner to help with their care.
Your concerns likely stem from the pervasive myth that mothers automatically receive custody of their children following divorces. This stems from two sources, one of which is still a relevant concern for fathers today:
The tender years doctrine – This guideline, which is no longer in use in Florida and many other states, stated that it was in a young child’s best interest to be placed with his or her mother. This is based on the idea that women are intrinsically suited to caring for young children as well as the reality of earlier eras that most mothers did not work outside the home, thus making them available for children who are not yet in school.
Mothers are often primary caregivers – The parent who spends more time handling the child’s day-to-day needs, like feeding, bathing and clothing, and help with homework for older children, is often considered to be the child’s primary caregiver. Despite making significant strides toward more egalitarian parenting in the past few decades, the mother is still the primary caregiver in many households. This frequently leads to the mother receiving a larger share of the custodial time with the children, perhaps even all of it, in a divorce.
But there is no law that automatically favors mothers in custody and visitation determination. In fact, it is actually illegal for the court to make these kinds of decisions based on a parent’s gender.
As a father, it is important that you can prove your fitness as a parent to the court. Work with an Orlando paternity rights attorney who can help you demonstrate your parenting skills, your close relationship with your children, and why an agreement that allows you significant, even primary, custodial time with your children is in their best interest.
Establishing your paternity is the key to having a legal right to your child. If you are not married to your partner when your child is born, you need to sign a Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity form in order to become the child’s legal father. If you and the child’s mother do not sign this form, you do not have the right to seek visitation, custody, or child support for the child. Conversely, the mother does not have the right to seek child support from you if you are not the child’s legal father.
You, the child’s mother, or the Florida Department of Child Support Services can also seek to establish paternity through the court. If your child’s paternity is established through this route, it is important that you work with an experienced Orlando paternity rights attorney who can act as an advocate for your interests and those of your child.
The benefits of paternal support to children
The Florida legislature has made — and continues to make — many changes in the law to help ensure that both parents have equal involvement in the lives of their children. Family law attorneys in Orlando devote significant time to remaining current with the law. Orlando paternity attorney Steve W. Marsee strongly supports any changes that provide children with equal access to both parents. Studies indicate that this arrangement produces many benefits, such as the following:
- When both parents provide responsive support, children display better language abilities and cognitive skills than those reared solely by one parent.
- Sons with involved parents engage in fewer problem behaviors, while daughters experience better mental health.
- Children raised by both parents display increased self-esteem and psychological well-being, and they develop better life skills.
- Responsible support by both parents typically increases the likelihood the children will succeed when raising their own families.
Establishing paternity under Florida law
In a typical divorce case, the law affords rights to both parents without the need to establish paternity. But in non-marital relationships, establishing paternity provides vital rights to both parents — and to the children. Either parent can initiate paternity proceedings within the court of the plaintiff’s or defendant’s county of residence. Establishing paternity involves a complex legal process. As one of the most dedicated paternity attorneys in Orlando, Steve W. Marsee helps fathers in Orlando claim the legal rights they need to maintain a meaningful presence in the lives of their children and contribute to their support.
Staunch support for devoted fathers
At the Law Offices of Steve W. Marsee, we recognize the true value of the role that fathers play in the lives of their children. We make full use of Florida law to help ensure the best interests of the children by helping clients develop comprehensive parenting plans that provide children with full contact and support from both parents. Contact our Orlando paternity attorneys today for a consultation.