Father’s Rights – Paternity

In a recent paternity case captioned Perez v. Fay, the Florida Court of Appeal stated that a parent has a constitutionally protected right to a meaningful relationship with his child. Time-sharing privileges should not be denied to either parent as long as the parent conducts himself, while in the presence of the child, in a manner which will not adversely affect the child. Because of the constitutional right to a meaningful parent-child relationship, there must be substantial evidence in the record that demonstrates that any restrictions on time-sharing are in the best interests of the child before those restrictions will be upheld. In Perez v. Fay, there was no evidence that the parent had conducted themselves during their supervised time-sharing in any manner that would adversely affect the parties’ child. However, the trial court reduced the parent’s time-sharing with the child from two to three hours per week to only four hours per month. This drastic reduction in the parent’s time-sharing was reversed by the Court of Appeal.

Additionally, in Perez v. Fay, the Court of Appeal stated that the trial court made a mistake when it delegated to a time-sharing supervisor the authority to schedule the parent’s time-sharing at the time-sharing supervisor’s sole discretion. The Court found that it is the trial court’s duty to ensure that an appropriate relationship is maintained between a parent and his child, and that responsibility cannot be abdicated to an expert. The trial court cannot delegate its authority to another person to rule on the visitation details. The trial court must make sure that an appropriate relationship is maintained between a parent and a child and it cannot delegate its responsibility to the person supervising time-sharing. Finally, in  paternity case, the Court found that the expense of a time-sharing coordinator must be allocated in the same manner as child support obligations are allocated.

To speak with a father’s rights attorney in Palm Beach Gardens, contact Matthew Jay Lane & Associates, P.A. at (561) 363-3400.