In the case of unwed parents, Florida law designates the mother as the natural custodian of a minor child, and she has sole legal rights over the child until paternity is established. She also has the right to obtain child support from the biological father, according to Kramer Law Firm.
The courts of Florida favor "shared parenting" when both parents are of sound mind and willing to be involved in the lives of their children. However, emotions and conflict often come into play, and the father may disregard court orders or find means to obstruct the legal rights of the mother. It is imperative in these cases the mother seek experienced legal counsel, explains Kramer Law Firm.
The mother has the right to establish paternity on the child's behalf. If she files a paternity suit against the father, the Florida court uses DNA testing or blood tests to establish paternity. Then, the mother can take steps to obtain child support and the sharing of parental responsibilities. A father without legal paternity has no legal obligation to pay child support, notes Kramer Law Firm. Florida adheres to child support guidelines and calculates amounts based on truthful reporting of income by both parents. If the mother suspects the father is lying about his income, she should consult a lawyer.