It’s a question many divorce lawyers are often asked by their clients:
Can a biological father be prevented from seeing his child? In the state
of Florida, the answer to this question was sometimes yes. However, one
biological father’s case made it to the Florida’s Supreme Court.
Connor Perkins just moved into this beautiful new house and set up a room
for his 5-year-old daughter. Talking about his home, Connor said, “This
room, we thought would be good for her. We’ll probably put a table
However, Mr. Perkin’s little girl didn’t get to move into her new room.
“I raised my child for three years, and then all the sudden, I’m
nothing, right? I have no rights. I am not considered a father, I get
stripped of all my rights,” said Connor.
Connor conceived his daughter with a married woman.
DNA testing proved he was in fact the girl’s biological father.
When Mr. Perkin’s daughter turned 3 years old, her mother and her
husband went to court to obtain full custody and challenge the biological
Under an old Florida law, the daughter’s mother could do this. This
old law overrides biology when it comes to a father’s parental rights.
During the 80s and 90s, a whole progeny of cases developed featuring legal
fathers (husbands) who were not biological fathers. The big case that
started it all in Florida is called “privette,” which forced
the biological father to prove that it is in the child's best interest
to illegitimize the child (basically saying the child was not born during
wedlock) and having to have a Guardian ad Litem recommend the biological
father have rights to his child.
custody dispute, Connor said, “I never could have imagined that I would be in this
situation today, where I’d be fighting for rights to my own daughter.”
Unfortunately, Connor’s fight is one that biological fathers have
been losing in court for years. However, Mr. Perkins just scored a huge
victory in the Florida Supreme Court that can have major implications
for these types of cases.
In his case, Connor argued that the Florida law is outdated because today
it is much more common for children to be born to parents who aren’t
married. The Supreme Court agreed with Mr. Perkin’s arguments and
ruled that he was entitled to be a part of his daughter’s life.
According to his attorney, “Not only did he get to establish rights
for himself with his child, he has now paved the way for every other biological
father in the State of Florida who is not in a marital relationship. So
it’s really kind of a breakthrough.”
Despite this major ruling, biological fathers seeking custody of their
children will still have to go through family courts to establish that
they can provide an environment that is in the best interest of their
child. The difference now is that the law will be on their side during
Speaking about his victory, Connor said, “You know, I’m hoping
that this kind of sets a new path for fathers out there that actually
want to do the right thing and to be a part of their children’s
Although he won this part of the battle, Mr. Perkins is still involved
in a dispute with ex over the amount of time he can spend with their child.
For now, he is just eager for the day his little girl can sleep in the
room he set up for her.
Speak to a Family Law Attorney Today
Are you involved in a custody dispute with your ex? Do you need help defending
your rights? Our team of attorneys in Jacksonville are here to fight for
you. We take on all
family law disputes, and our legal professionals will guide you through every aspect of your
case. Let us put our skills and experience to work for you.
Call 904.770.3141 to request your free case consultation.