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If you were never married to your child’s other parent but are seeking to establish paternity or gain custody, you must file a petition in the county circuit court where the minor child(ren) have resided for six months. If your infant is less than six months old, the petition can be filed in the county circuit court where they were born. An unwed father has no legal rights to or responsibility for a minor child until paternity is established. A family law attorney can help you establish paternity through the court and come to an agreement with your child’s mother regarding time-sharing and child support.
In Florida, both legal and physical parental responsibility will be established in a Parenting Plan. Your Parenting Plan will specify who is able to make medical, educational, or religious decisions for the children, and when consultation with the other parent is necessary. It will also include a schedule for time-sharing with your children, taking into account the distance between the parents’ homes, where the children attend school, and school breaks and holidays. Usually, both parents will share legal and physical responsibility for their children. However, if one parents lives at a distance or has an inflexible work schedule that requires significant travel, the time-sharing schedule will reflect this.
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