When a man is married to a woman who gives birth, Florida law provides that he is automatically presumed to be the child’s father and, therefore, has all of the rights of a parent to that child. A father to a child born out of wedlock, however, has a more complicated path to help ensure he has parental rights to the child. When the parents of a child are unmarried, there is no presumption as to who the father of the child may be. The biological father may be left off of the birth certificate and will have hurdles to establishing paternity. Florida does, however, provide some protection to the biological fathers of children born out of wedlock. The Florida Putative Father Registry is one such protection.
An Overview of the Florida Putative Father Registry
Maintained by the Florida Department of Health, Florida Bureau of Vital Statistics, the Florida Putative Father Registry is in place to protect some of the legal rights of a father to a child born outside of marriage. The registry essentially allows a man who believes that he is the biological father of a child, but is not married to the child’s mother, to preserve his legal right to receive notice and either give or withhold consent should adoption proceedings regarding the child be initiated.
Any man who believes that he is the father of a child born outside of marriage has the ability to make a claim of paternity by registering with the Putative Father Registry. It should be noted, however, that the alleged father cannot register after the date that a petition for termination of parental rights is filed with the court. Outside of that, however, the alleged father may register at any other time, even before the child is born.
To register with the Putative Father Registry, the man who believes he is the father of a child must fill out and submit the requisite forms along with a $9 fee to the Florida Putative Father Registry. Registering in no way impacts a child’s birth record. If the alleged father wants to be listed on the birth record as the child’s father, he must get the mother’s consent or seek an order from a court of competent jurisdiction.
Once registered with the Putative Father Registry, the alleged father will receive notice should anyone file court proceedings for an adoption of the child or to terminate parental rights. Notice allows the putative father the opportunity to contest the adoption and, should he wish to do so, pursue legal parental rights to the child through establishing paternity. The registry is confidential. The only people allowed to get information from the registry include adoption entities handling matters related to the child, family court, the birth mother of the child, and the putative father.
Florida Paternity Attorneys
Establishing paternity and maintaining legal parental rights regarding a child can be complicated and there is a great deal at stake. Once a child is adopted and parental rights are terminated, there is not much to be done. The dedicated paternity attorneys at Orlando Family Team work to help ensure a father’s rights are protected. Contact us today.