Common Myths Dealing with Fathers' Rights

Myth: I am behind on child support so my ex-girlfriend/ex-wife can stop letting the children go to visit with me.

Answer: No. Florida law specifically says: "When a parent who is ordered to pay child support or alimony fails to pay child support or alimony, the parent who should have received the child support or alimony may not refuse to honor the time-sharing schedule presently in effect between the parents." The Court can order a parent who withholds time-sharing to give make-up time to the other parent, pay the other parent's court costs, or attend a parenting course, among other things, or the Court can even change the time-sharing schedule.

Myth: Because my ex-girlfriend/ex-wife has the child with her she can determine if I can see the child

Answer: In Florida, it is necessary for an unmarried father to take steps to establish and protect his rights to time-sharing with the child. If he does not establish his rights in court, the unwed mother has 100% parental responsibility for the child. Sec. 744.301 (Fla. Stat. (2011)

Myth: The child is very young so they have to be with the mother.

Answer: It is the public policy in Florida that every child should have frequent and continuing contact with both parents in the event of separation or divorce. It is also the public policy of the State to encourage parents to share the rights, responsibilities and joys of child rearing. There is no presumption for or against the father or mother when parents separate or divorce, even if children are very young. Sec. 61.13, Fla. Stat. (2011)

Myth: I don't need a lawyer I can go Pro Se

Answer: It is best to seek the advice of an experienced lawyer when you are facing a legal issue where you need individual advice tailored to your situation. A lawyer understands the legal process and knows how to identify and research factual and legal issues. She can give you specific advice and guide you through a difficult process. She is your advocate who will focus on defending your rights and protecting your interests.