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Updated: Oct 18, 2023

Prior to July 1, 2023, if a child was born to unmarried parents the rights of natural guardianship defaulted to the mother which meant the mother had 100% parental rights.

Beginning July 1, 2023, under HB775 fathers who have established legal paternity are entitled to share the rights and responsibilities of parents and both mother and father are considered to be the natural guardians.

Excerpt of new law change in Florida statute 744.301: the mother of a child born out of wedlock and a father who has establish paternity under s. 742.011 or s. 742.10 are the natural guardians of the child and are entitled and subject to the rights and responsibilities of parents.

For example, in instances where an unmarried/unwed Father acknowledges paternity and both the father and the mother sign a voluntary acknowledgement as per Florida statute 742.10, a court can now bestow on both the mother and father equal say in their child’s education, healthcare, religion, and timesharing among things. However, if the Father has not established paternity, the mother of a child born out of wedlock will then still be "the natural guardian of the child and is entitled to primary residential care and custody of the child unless the court enters an order stating otherwise."


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