Do Fathers Ordered to Pay Child Support Have Custody Rights?

I see it all the time.  A mother requests state welfare benefits, and the Florida Department of Revenue inquires as to whether the mother is receiving child support from her child’s father.  The answer is no, and the Department of Revenue then initiates an administrative action to get the father to financially support his child.

Sometimes, the father admits that he is the child’s parent, and other times paternity is established through genetic testing, but the ultimate result is that the father is ordered to pay child support.

So, then, since he is paying support, does the father automatically get custody rights?

Though a mother should encourage a loving and continuing relationship between her child and the child’s father, the father does not automatically get custody rights.

However, the father can establish those rights.

Department of Revenue proceedings only deal with paternity (the determination of who is the father) and child support, but they do not address custody.  A father looking to gain “custody rights” should file a petition in the circuit court requesting the establishment of a parenting plan.

A parenting plan outlines (i) parental responsibility (i.e., who makes decisions concerning major issues in the child’s life, such as education, health, and religion) and (ii) time-sharing (i.e., a specific schedule outlining when the child will be with each parent).

If you have questions regarding the establishment of a Florida parenting plan, and you wish to retain a Tampa Bay paternity attorney, contact The Law Firm of Adam B. Cordover, P.A., at (813) 443-0615 or by filling out our consultation form.

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