In Florida, the rights of an unmarried, biological father are controlled by chapter 63 of the Florida Statutes. If an unmarried biological father fails to take the actions that are available to him to establish a relationship with his child, his parental interest may be lost entirely. FSA 63.053(1). If you find yourself in a position where you believe you may be the biological father of a child, the first thing you need to do is hire a qualified family law lawyer to help you establish a relationship with your child. The second most important action you must take is registering with the Florida Putative Father Registry.
Registering with the Florida Putative Father Registry protects your interests as a biological father. The mother of your child cannot terminate parental rights and have the child become a ward of the state, without your knowledge and consent. Neither can the mother of your child substitute in another person to fill your shoes (step-parent adoption), without your knowledge and consent.
By registering with the Florida Putative Father Registry, you are confirming your willingness to support the child for whom paternity is claimed. Registering with the Florida Putative Father Registry can be done online and requires a $9.00 filing fee.
Registering with the Florida Putative Father Registry protects your rights as an unmarried, biological father of a child. Merely registering with the Florida Putative Father Registry is not enough. After registration you must be prepared to enter into a timesharing agreement with the child’s mother and determine child support obligations. Having a family law lawyer help you with the entire process ensures your rights are protected.