There is a prevalent notion that just because a man’s name is on the birth certificate, he has the same rights to his child as the mother. This isn’t necessarily true. Florida Statute 742.011 outlines paternity determination proceedings.
When a child is born into wedlock the husband is presumed to be the legal father, which also applies to cases of a child born out of wedlock when the reputed father and mother marry after the birth of the child. However, as outlined in FL statute 744.301(1), “….The mother of a child born out of wedlock is the natural guardian of the child and is entitled to primary residential care and custody of the child unless the court enters an order stating otherwise.”
An unmarried biological father can register through the Putative Father Registry to preserve his right to notice and consent in the event of an adoption. To register a father can find the form at: http://www.floridahealth.gov/certificates/certificates/birth/Putative_Father/index.html
It is important to note that completing and submitting this form with the Putative Father Registry does not establish paternity or provide any other relief. If a father seeks time sharing (“visitation”) with his minor children or other relief related to the children, he must first file a Petition to Establish Paternity with the court.