Every now and then I have a man come into my office who is aware that there is a woman who may be pregnant with his child and he wants to know how to protect his parental rights. In order for an un-wed father to protect his parental rights, he needs to do the following:
1. Register with the Florida Putative Father Registry ; (http://www.doh.state.fl.us/Planning_eval/Vital_Statistics/Putative.htm)
2. Assist the mother as much as he can emotionally and financially during her pregnancy; and
3. When the child is born attempt to enter into a Shared Parenting Agreement so that he can insure contact and each parties obligations to the child financially. If that fails, he should file a Paternity Action.
In the State of Florida, if you do not register with the Putative Father Registry, your child can be put up for adoption without your consent, therefore it is essential that you register with this entity in order to protect your rights. However, even if you properly register, you still need to make efforts to assist the mother, so it is important that you do what you can to stay involved. Unwed fathers are at a disadvantage in the State of Florida so it is important to know how to protect your interests. The good thing about the Putative Father registry is that you can register with it prior to the birth of the child, and it is cheap to do it. Knowing how to protect your rights is the best way to insure that your child is not adopted without your consent or knowledge and that if the mother is attempting to block you from having contact with the child after it is born, it insures that the courts will see that you are serious about wanting to establish a relationship with your child.