On a Mission

We have the story of a local man who says a common law designed to keep families together is threatening to tear his family apart. There are two type of laws in Florida, statutes made by legislators and common laws made by judges in court cases.

It's the presumption of legitimacy common law, adopted to save face when adultery occurred or children were born out of wedlock. Some say it's a law that hasn't changed with the times.

Don Crum says a Florida law meant to shield children from the stigma of being born out of wedlock is taking away his rights as a father.

"I first learned of the law when I went to get legal advice on being able to see my son," says Don.

Crum is the father of a five-month-old baby boy he says he has never seen, and Florida law is the reason why. Florida statute 742 gives anyone the right to challenge the paternity of a child, if it hasn't been determined by law.

Don Crum is the biological father of the baby boy, but his mother was married to another man at the time of birth. By Florida common law that means the mothers husband is the child's father.

Rep. Curtis Richardson says that appears to be an out dated law. For Don Crum, he just wants to chance to be a father in every sense of the word.

"Keeping me from seeing my son, I am 100 percent father but because of law can't do anything," Don says.

Don Crum, along with legal advice, is petitioning the courts to change the law, and recognize him as the father of the baby boy Dominique. A legislator can sponsor a bill, which is referred to a committee, who studies the bill and decides if it should be amended pass or fail.