Father’s Rights in Florida
In Florida, both parents have been given the right to have a healthy relationship with their child. The court does not favor either parent when establishing custody and time-sharing rights. This is simply because; the court always looks at the best interest of the child. The Laws of Florida provide for both parties through the court or other alternative dispute resolution mechanisms to formulate a custody plan on the basis of what is in the child’s best interests. This can either be determined by a judge or through both parties coming to a mutual understanding and agreement.
With regards to the father’s right when it comes custody in Florida, the law dictates that both parents should be involved in taking care of the child and in making decisions that will affect the child. However, in cases where both parties are unable to reach a decision that is in the child’s best interest, the court is the one that gets to decide what will work best for the child in question whereas the parents will be expected to abide by the court's decision.
Fathers who wish to exercise their fathers’ rights in Florida should be willing to participate in their child’s life by knowing their teachers and their friends as well as taking part in their child’s school and extracurricular activities. This is important because, in order for the court to grant the father the parental rights he deserves, the father is required to ensure that the child’s best interest is at heart. This means that the father must make sure that he prioritizes his child’s needs first before his own needs. In addition to this, a father who wants to exercise his rights in Florida ought to be willing to contribute to the child’s medical, educational and financial needs. He also needs to ensure that the child is well protected from all kinds of emotional stress that are likely to arise as a result of all the effects of the entire divorce process up to and including the custody hearing.
The law protects the fathers’ rights especially with regards to his ability to make decisions on matters concerning the child’s upbringing. The law makes provisions for the possibility of shared legal custody. This enables both parents to share mutual responsibility when it comes to making decisions on certain matters such as their child’s health, education or religion.
It is clear therefore that Florida law has enabled fathers to play a significant role in the life of their child post-divorce. All these, however, are subject to the father’s willingness to fight for this right.