More and more people are choosing to delay marriage, or are simply avoiding the institution altogether. This approach could simplify many Florida breakups, but not for couples who choose to have one or more children together. In such cases, unmarried fathers can face an uphill battle when it comes to establishing and protecting their paternity rights.

Each state handles custody rights differently when it comes to unmarried men. In most cases, the mother is automatically assumed to be the custodial parent of her child. If an unmarried father wants to assert his paternity rights, he must take steps to do so. The earlier that process begins, the better the outcome.

Times have changed, and courts no longer presume that a mother is fundamentally better suited to parent a child than a father. That said, many courts still give preference to mothers in many types of custody disputes. In order to assert custody rights, a father must take aggressive legal action as quickly as possible. In cases where the relationship ends before the child is even born, then the father should research how to secure his rights as swiftly as possible.

For those in Florida who are concerned about the potential of a custody battle, it’s important to seek legal counsel as soon as possible. Unmarried men who are planning to be or are fathers must take action to establish paternity and began pursuing custody rights. The longer a mother is allowed to act as the sole parental influence in a child’s life, the better her chances of securing the majority of parenting rights and responsibilities in a court of law.

Source:, “Do Dads Get Custody If They Aren’t Married? Here’s What The Law States“, Steph Montgomery, May 23, 2018