A Florida Family Law Attorney Advocating For The Rights Of Fathers

Over the past half-century, there have been major changes to the roles that fathers play in families as well as a greater recognition of the benefits of strong relationships between fathers and their children. This has prompted states around the country to consider or enact laws that would protect fathers’ rights and give them greater parity with mothers in child custody proceedings.

Thankfully, Florida is one such state. In mid-2023, legislators passed reforms to laws regarding child custody proceedings and paternity cases. Attorney J. Anthony Franco has stayed up to date on all these exciting legal changes, and he uses his knowledge and litigation skills to advocate for men who want to stay actively involved in their children’s lives. If you are a dad facing divorce or a related family law matter in northern Florida, contact the Law Offices of J. Anthony Franco, PLLC, to learn how an experienced lawyer can help you.

New Custody Law Paves The Way For Equal Time With Kids

Previous Florida law made clear that neither mothers nor fathers should be favored or discriminated against when creating parenting plans and awarding physical custody. Still, in practice, many fathers felt that judges favored mothers by making them the primary physical custodians and awarding a greater share of parenting time.

Under a new law passed in mid 2023, courts must begin with the presumption of equal time-sharing for both parents. A court may deviate from this if there is a compelling reason to “rebut” the presumption, but equal time sharing is now the starting point for awarding custody.

To learn more about this new law and other changes contained within it, please visit the child custody page.

Another Law Strengthens Parental Rights For Unwed Fathers

Previously in Florida, men who were not married to the mother of their children had virtually no parental rights. To gain those rights, men would need to establish paternity and then petition the court for the right to any physical custody or the authority to make important decisions related to a child’s upbringing (sometimes called legal custody).

That’s still the case in many states, but Florida’s laws have changed with the passage of a law titled “Shared Parental Responsibility After the Establishment of Paternity.” Under the new law, a man can establish paternity, with the mother’s consent, by simply signing some paperwork. In doing so, he would gain an equal right to primary physical custody as well as legal custody.

This new law makes it far easier for men to establish their rights as fathers without excessive legal costs and time spent in court. However, it is still a good idea to confer with a family law attorney regarding custody, child support and related issues.

Work With An Attorney Who Believes In Fathers’ Rights

To learn more about these legal changes and find out how the Law Offices of J. Anthony Franco, PLLC, can help you, contact the firm’s Tampa office to schedule an initial consultation. Just call 813-608-4024 or submit an online contact form.