Many times in my family law practice in Jacksonville, Florida, I have men who think that they have no rights when it comes to their children in divorce cases, child custody cases or paternity cases. In Florida, 33% of children are born to men and women who are unmarried at the time of the child’s birth. Florida gives fathers rights and has certainly been recognizing more and more the importance of fathers in the lives of children. Before a man can have any rights to a child, however, he must first be determined, by a court of law with a judicial order signed by a Judge, to be the father. The fathers name on a mere birth certificate will not suffice to give the child and father a legal bond and heir at law status. To accomplish this, if the parties are unmarried at the time the child is born, one party must file a Petition For The Determination of Paternity. I always tell my clients, whether my client is the mother or the father of the child, that with obligation (such as child support) comes rights (such as visitation and parental responsibility). Here is a helpful site regarding resources for fathers to provide some useful information regarding their rights. If you or someone you know needs help in determining any parental issues such as child support, child custody, visitation, paternity, or any other matter, please call our firm at 904-355-8888 for help.