I pay child support, so why can’t I have time with my kids

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This article is provided for informational purposes only and should not be considered legal advice. In this guide, we will address the most common questions and concerns related to alimony in Florida, helping you navigate the complex terrain of this important aspect of divorce law.

I pay my child support, my name is on the birth certificate, and these are my kids, so why can she keep me from seeing them? I’ve lost count of the times I’ve had a new client ask some version of this question. In Florida, Fathers are often ordered to pay child support for their child and formally adjudicated as the child’s Father. In many cases the Father’s name is also on the birth certificate. Seems like I have rights to my children, right? Unfortunately, the answer is often a resounding no.

In Florida, you can be adjudicated the Father of a child, be ordered to pay child support yet have no rights to have time sharing with the child. Most fathers cannot comprehend how this reality. See, under existing Florida law, a person can be determined to have a legal duty to provide support for a child. Once this is established a legal proceeding can adjudicate said person as the Father of a child and this person can be ordered to pay child support. Most often this transaction occurs due to a Petition to Establish Support instituted by the Department of Revenue. The key problem for fathers is that this action, in no way, establishes any rights to the child with respect to parental responsibility and time sharing. To achieve parenting rights to the child a Father must file an Action to Establish Paternity and Related Relief. Said action will determine parental responsibility, time sharing and readdress child support.

To preserve your rights even further, and to try to avoid and adoption of your child to another family without notice to you, be sure to apply to the Florida Putative Father Registry through the Florida Department of Health.

Be the Father your child needs you to be. For more information on parental responsibility and time sharing issues or assistance with completing your Putative Father Registry application please contact the law firm of Schwam-Wilcox & Associates.

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