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Are Florida Divorce Courts Anti-Dad?

Over the past few years, there has been a movement to overhaul the alimony and child custody laws of Florida and other states.  This is because husbands and fathers have felt like they are under siege in the family law court system.  They have a glimmer of hope that, if only the laws were changed, then maybe they could get the respect and dignity that they deserve when entering a courtroom.

Map of Florida Circuit Courts

So this bring up a fundamental question:  Are Florida’s family law courts anti-father?

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Florida Divorce and Fathers’ Child Custody Rights

Many people believe that, in Florida divorces, there is a legal presumption that mothers should get majority time-sharing (formerly known as primary custody) with the parties’ children.  This is simply not the case, as judges fashion Florida time-sharing schedules based solely on the best interests of the children, regardless of the gender of the parents.

Florida Statutes Section 61.13(2)(c)1 states specifically that “[t]here is no presumption for or against the father or mother of the child or for or against any specific time-sharing schedule when creating or modifying the parenting plan of the child.”

So what factors do judges look at to determine children’s best interests when shaping time-sharing schedules?

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Legislative Update: Changes to Florida Statutes Section 63.062 – Persons required to consent to adoption; affidavit of nonpaternity; waiver of venue

Florida recently passed updates to its Adoption statutes, which will go into effect on July 1, 2012. Among other statutes, section 63.062 was amended to clarify when it is necessary to obtain the consent for adoption of unmarried biological fathers and others, and what unmarried biological fathers must do to assert their rights to contest an adoption.

[Related:  In Which County Should I File My Florida Adoption Case?]

Below you will find the updated text of section 63.062 (new language is underlined, while deleted language is stricken):

63.062 Persons required to consent to adoption; affidavit of nonpaternity; waiver of venue.—

(1) Unless supported by one or more of the grounds enumerated under s. 63.089(3), a petition to terminate parental rights pending adoption may be granted only if written consent has been executed as provided in s. 63.082 after the birth of the minor or notice has been served under s. 63.088 to:

(b) The father of the minor, if:

1. The minor was conceived or born while the father was married to the mother;

2. The minor is his child by adoption;

3. The minor has been adjudicated by the court to be his child before by the date a petition is filed for termination of parental rights is filed;

4. He has filed an affidavit of paternity pursuant to s. 382.013(2)(c) or he is listed on the child’s birth certificate before by the date a petition is filed for termination of parental rights is filed; or

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