What Custody and Visitation Rights Does a Father Have in Paternity Cases?

July 10, 2019

Child custody determinations are always made based on what is in the best interests of the child(ren) in question. Both parents may be granted shared or joint custody, in which each is responsible for raising the child, making important life decisions on their behalf and potentially both sharing physical custody of the child. In a sole custody arrangement, however, only one of the parents has that right.

Fathers involved in paternity cases may wonder what rights they have to visitation and time sharing. It is, after all, deemed to be a parental responsibility to at least have a relationship with the child, except for the uncommon circumstances in which the court deems it’s in the best interests of the child to not have a relationship with one of the parents.

Here’s what you’ll need to know about visitation and rules related to child custody in Tavares, FL.

Time sharing rights

Time sharing, also frequently referred to as “visitation,” refers to the time a parent spends with his or her kids after a divorce (or after the child is born to unwed parents who do not live together). Time sharing and child support have a symbiotic relationship in some ways. Equal time sharing will result in child support being calculated simply based on Florida’s state guidelines, which include factors such as healthcare costs, daycare expenses and each parent’s income level.

The amount of time each parent spends with the children will affect the total amount of child support to be paid. Overnight stays are what the courts will look at when making child support calculations. The more time a child spends with one parent, the more support that parent can expect to receive for doing the bulk of the daily child-rearing work.

It is important for fathers in paternity cases to remember that even if they aren’t granted physical custody of their children, they still have a right to visitation, no matter how heavily slanted the childcare percentages are toward the parent with primary physical custody. That right can only be taken away in extraordinary circumstances, in which the court would need to determine the father poses a danger to the child. These instances are generally reserved for cases in which there is a history of child abuse, or severe substance abuse or criminal activity.

This means if the mother of your child is trying to prevent you from exercising your legal right to visitation, you have the right to take the mother to court and make sure you’re able to get the visitation time that is your right. It is important to follow through on this, especially if you have a detailed, court-appointed visitation plan in place that the mother of your children violates.

Visitation plans and schedules look different for every couple, but what doesn’t change is that you as the father will almost always have the right to spend at least some time with your children. For more information about the steps you can take to enforce these rights if the mother of your children is trying to shut you out of the children’s lives, contact an experienced child support lawyer in Tavares, FL at K.J. Law P.A. today with any questions you have for our legal team.

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