Parental Rights for Fathers

by Anonymous from Florida

My husband voluntary signed his rights over when he was 18. He was young, had no job and lived at home. We have always been in his daughter's life and pay for sports, pay the mother for visitation, pay for flights, clothes food etc.

Now the child's mom remarried and wants nothing to do with us. She wants to cut visitation with us after we have been in her life for almost 8 years.

Can he get his rights back? We are stable, my husband has a good job, and can provide for her. What are our options?

Answer to Florida Child Custody Question

Dear Anonymous,

To my knowledge, in Florida, you cannot voluntarily sign away your parental rights unless there is an adoption pending.

He may have agreed to no visitation, or agreed that the mother has sole parental responsibility – but if he is the father, he likely still has some paternal rights.

Sole parental responsibility, is supposed to mean, sole decision making authority.

Visitation may or may not be allowed to the other parent. But, as you stated, he was receiving visitation, and he is apparently paying some type of support.

My suggestion is that he petition the court for his visitation rights. I don't know whether there was ever a court order for paternity or not, so I'm not exactly sure where he must begin.

If he was never married to the mother; and there has never been anything filed through the courts. He can file a Petition to Determine Paternity and Other Relief, Form 12.983(a).

If his paternity was determined by a court when he was 18 he may be able to file a Supplemental Petition for Modification of Parenting Plan Time-Sharing and Other Relief, Form 12.905(a). If there was a court order addressing his paternity, visitation, or child custody from a state other than Florida, he will need to transfer that order to Florida first.

These forms and other family law forms are available on the Florida Supreme Court's website,

They are all free downloads. Read the information and the instructions on the forms carefully to determine your correct path.

As you read the instructions for the primary petition, you will find that other forms must be filed along with it.

Notice: We provide these answers to the general public and our website visitors as a means to further their online legal research. These answers are merely suggestions and should not be regarded as legal advice.

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