Unmarried Parents: Florida’s New Custody Law Explained

Unmarried parents - Florida's new custody law explained.


Florida’s new custody law for unmarried parents has changed, now granting both the mother and father equal rights if paternity has been established.


  • 💡 Prior to July 1st, 2023, the mother was presumed to be the natural guardian, entitled to 100% of time sharing until a court order.
  • 💡 With the new law, both parents are considered natural guardians once paternity has been established.
  • 💡 Paternity can be established through various methods like filing a paternity case, acknowledgement of paternity form, Department of Revenue case, or stipulation of paternity by the parties.
  • 💡 If paternity has not been established, the mother remains the natural guardian of the child in unmarried parent situations.
  • 💡 Understanding the process of establishing paternity is crucial for unmarried parents to have equal rights under the new law.


for years in unmarried parent custody situations the law was that the mother was to have 100% of the time sharing until court order this was the law for a long time and it confused a lot of people and a lot of dads would call and ask cuz I’m a divorce and family law attorney here in Florida and would ask
about their rights and I would explain that you need to get a court order and the reason why was the mother is presumed to be the natural guardian of the child until the father gets a court order and this is in situations where the parties were not married so a child that was born out of wedlock situations
where the parties were married are different cuz that’s governed by the dissolution of marriage statute and it had a different presumption and put parents more on equal footing but if the parents were not married so that’s what this video is about when the parents were not married then what would the law provide for and
prior to July 1st of 2023 the mother was considered to be the natural guardian and therefore entitled to 100% of the time sharing until a court order but this year the statute changed 2023 saw a change in the natural Guardian statute basically stating that now mother and father are on the same level if
paternity has been established paternity still needs to be established but once it is again that’s where the statute kicks in and people will ask well how is paternity established the statute is very clear that obviously there’s a case that can be filed and by Florida statute 742 point11 basically you’re able to file a
paternity case and establish paternity so that’s one way to do it and some people might be watching this video saying well I thought this just gave it to you and you didn’t have to file a case so there’s another statute that you look to to figure out how to establish paternity the second statute you look at is
Florida statute 742 012 subsection one and that statute explains some of the different ways you can establish paternity like doing a acknowledgement of paternity form and a lot of times those are signed at the hospital or shortly thereafter other ways of establishing paternity are through a Department of Revenue case or
an administrative support case or a stipulation of paternity by the parties there’s different ways to establish paternity but now once paternity has been established then that’s where the statute kicks in and states that now both parents are considered to be the natural Guardians of the child and the
flip side also goes into effect that if the father has not established paternity and again people will say well like what okay what is what does that actually mean again that there’s been no case there’s been no Department of Revenue case there’s been no administrative support case there’s been no stipulation
signed or acknowledgement of paternity signed not on the birth certificate none of those different things if the father is not not established paternity it reverts back to the mother being the natural guardian of the child for situations with unmarried parents the law has remained unchanged in that the
mother would be the natural guardian of the child if any of these ways of establishing paternity have not occurred and therefore the mother would be the natural guardian of the child
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