A new law in Florida makes it easier for unmarried fathers to be legally recognized as the child’s parent, with all the rights and responsibilities that come with it.
Previously, unmarried fathers had to go through a lengthy and expensive process to establish paternity in court. But the new law, which goes into effect on July 1, allows fathers to be declared the natural guardians of their children if both parents sign a voluntary acknowledgment of paternity.
This means that fathers will no longer have to go to court to get custody rights, and they will have an equal say in their child’s education, health care, religion, time-sharing, and safety.
The law was sponsored by Representative Christopher Benjamin who said that it was important to “level the playing field” for unmarried fathers. “The new law is a victory for unmarried fathers, who often face challenges in establishing their parental rights. It is also a positive step for children, who will benefit from having both parents involved in their lives.”
“The brokenness of families and loss of fatherhood in many of these situations and the (overburden) on mothers who have to do all the parenting,” he said, “(leads) to shortcomings.”
The Florida Bar Family Law Section also endorsed the bill, saying that it would “help to ensure that all children have the opportunity to be raised by both parents. The new law is a welcome change for unmarried fathers in Florida. It will make it easier for them to be involved in their children’s lives and to provide for their needs.”