Fathers in Florida who are unmarried or divorced might have trouble getting custody or visitation rights to their children. They may struggle to pay child support. However, there are steps those fathers can take that may improve their situation.

For example, a court may grant a modification if a parent is struggling to pay child support because of a change in circumstances such as the loss of a job. While this change is not retroactive, it can help a parent with payments in the future. A parent who is dealing with a protection order might want to seek legal advice regarding how to regain custody. A court may issue a protection order if it is determined that the child is unsafe around the parent.

Another complicated situation may arise if the parents were never married. The mother is automatically granted custody if the father is not involved from the beginning. Fathers may need to establish paternity in order to get visitation rights although the longer they wait or in cases in which the state has to look for them, it may be harder to get these rights. The court will determine what degree of contact is in the best interests of the child. In one case like this, a father was only granted a few days per month, so legal counsel may also be helpful here.

Whether child custody issues arise because of a divorce or because the parents were never married, parents might be able to reach an agreement outside of court regarding visitation and support. However, they may still want to work with attorneys and submit the agreement to the court to protect themselves legally. This can help ensure that there is recourse if one parent fails to pay support or blocks the other parent’s access to the children.