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Do you have to establish parentage as an unmarried father?

If you have recently found out that you are going to be a father, chances are you are facing lots of emotions including excitement and anticipation for the future. While becoming a father presents a list of rewards and challenges, establishing parentage in Florida can be significantly more complicated if you are not married to the child's mother. Receiving all of the rights that married fathers enjoy is doable, but it will require a few extra steps on your part. 

According to the New York Times, determining the custody of a child who is born to two married parents is done without question. You only begin to face problems if you and the child's mother are not married, which often means you are not living together either. There is a major gray area where unmarried parents are concerned because it becomes difficult for courts to establish what your rights and responsibilities are. If your child's mother is pursuing a new relationship, she may have motive to keep you out of the picture which can complicate your efforts to establish a bond with your child. If you are unable to afford DNA testing that clearly labels you as your child's father, the mother may have the power to determine how often or how little you are allowed to see your new baby.

Another considerable hurdle you will face is child support and determining an agreement in relation to the child's well-being and quality of life. If you do not make enough to support the child, laws often lack flexibility to allow exceptions. When you are aware of the potential problems you may need to solve regarding your parental rights as your child's father, you can more confidently work towards establishing parentage and developing a lasting relationship with your child. 

The information in this article is intended for educational purposes only and should not be taken as legal advice.  

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