Parental Rights & Unmarried Biological Father

by Regina from Tallahassee, Florida, Leon County

I am legally married and my husband is on the birth certificate of my 7 week old daughter.

We are raising her together!

However he is not the biological father, he knows this and so does the biological father.

The biological father is demanding the right to visit and see my daughter and be able to bond with her.

What are his rights (the biological father)if any at all?

Answer to Florida Custody & Visitation Question

Dear Regina,

Your husband is the legal father providing you and he were married to each other at the time of conception. The fact that your husband is on the birth certificate also supports his position as the legal father. And your husband may even be the legal father if you and he were not yet married at the time of conception.

An unmarried biological father must take specific steps to assert his paternal rights. And, from what you have said it is unlikely that he has any rights at all. Did the biological father assert his paternal rights by registering with the putative father registry?

Did the biological father have contact with you during your pregnancy and hold himself out to be the father? Was your pregnancy the result of artificial insemination?

I can't be sure from the information that you gave, exactly what your specific circumstances are. In general, the legal father of a child is the mother's husband (if married), regardless of biological parentage.

The situation you describe creates a rebuttable presumption that your husband is the legal father. In other words, the biological father can dispute your husband's standing as the legal father.
But, the mere fact that he is the biological father does not automatically give him standing as the legal father.

As a practical matter, my suggestion is that you ignore or refuse his demands to have contact and visitation with your daughter (only, of course, if this is what you really want).

If he wants to pursue his claim of paternity he can do so in family court, but until a judge makes a ruling, he has no legal claim on your daughter.

Judges must rule in the best interests of the child. I can't imagine that confusing a child as to her parentage could be in her best interests, but ultimately, that would be up to the judge.

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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