Unmarried parents in Florida who agree on the paternity of a baby now have less red tape and court involvement to deal with. That’s thanks to a law that took effect in July of this year.
The law gives men legal parenting rights and responsibilities for a child that’s born outside of a marriage as long as the mother signs a voluntary acknowledgment of paternity. They no longer have to go to court to obtain these rights. That’s because the law expands the definition of “natural guardian” from solely the mother to the father as well.
The law helps unmarried mothers as well as fathers
While the new law has been widely described as a victory for unwed fathers, it can help both parents (and, by extension. the child) because it makes it easier for new parents to designate paternity without the time and effort needed to go to court. That’s something that not all new fathers can easily do – especially if they’re busy working and helping to care for a baby.
Further, by making it easier for a father to acknowledge their paternity when a child is born, it’s easier for them to be part of their child’s life. There’s also less need for DNA testing later if a man questions or retreats from his responsibility for a child.
If unmarried parents split up or maybe were never together as a couple, there can still be disputes over child support, timesharing and parental responsibility. Unmarried parents who aren’t together are wise to codify these things just as divorcing parents do so that they can reach agreements that are in their child’s best interests.