Unmarried Father & Full Custody

by Phillip from Palm Beach County, Florida

Unmarried father paternity test and wish to obtain full custody of minor child. I took a paternity test and positive that I am father. Now I have daughter with me with mother's permission and entered her in school, and am providing 100% support for child.

What forms do I need to file for full custody, I reside in 15th judicial circuit, in Palm Beach county.

Answer to Florida Child Custody Question

Dear Phillip,

Florida courts have a strong bias toward shared parental responsibility, even if the child lives with one parent all or most of the time.

The reasoning is that courts, as a matter of public policy, support the idea that children need both parents involved in their lives if at all possible.

So the term full or sole custody is usually not used nowadays, unless the child has little or no contact with the other parent, or there is some compelling reason that the other parent should not have decision making authority or contact with the child.

That said, it sounds to me like you need to file a Supplemental Petition to Modify Child Custody/ Time-Sharing Schedule and Other Relief if you have already filed a Petition for Paternity that required the paternity testing. Otherwise you should file a Petition for Paternity.

Have a look at the instructions for each form to determine which one is appropriate for your situation. Also, have a look at our web-powered instructions for both of these forms:

Petition for Paternity

Supplemental Petition to Modify Parenting Plan

Along with either Petition, you must file, among other forms, a Parenting Plan that reflects your current arrangement.

Read the instructions carefully, as there are other forms that must be filed along with these.

The Parenting Plan may be agreed to by both parents, with both signatures, and presented to the court as agreed upon.

Or it may be filed and submitted by one parent as a proposed plan. These forms and other Florida family law forms can be found on the Florida Supreme Court's website, www.flcourts.org.

Notice: We provide these answers to the general public and our website visitors as a means to further their online legal research. These answers are merely suggestions and should not be regarded as legal advice.

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Comments for Unmarried Father & Full Custody

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Mother Leaves State Without Notice
by: West Palm Beach Florda

Hello I am writing because the mother of my soon to be one year old daughter left the state with out my knowledge. She was living with me and my parents at the time and behind our backs packed and went to her mother's in Maryland. We were never married. My name is on the birth certificate as the father.

I want to know what I have to do to at least get some visitation or custody of my child. She said when she comes back she will sign partial custody with me but her return date is in question as all she has done is lie to me in the past month. Any advice would be helpful. Thanks.

--If I had a nickel for every time an unmarried biological father gets caught up in a situation like yours without having his parental rights established.... well you know the rest of the story.

Your name on the birth certificate is not sufficient for your custody and visitation rights as an unmarried biological father. You will need to have your parental rights established in court. You can try filing a Petition for Paternity, but the fact that she has already left the state may impact jurisdiction, and not necessarily in your favor, but timing is everything.

I suggest you get competent legal advice as soon as possible to see what your best options are at this point. Try our recommended lawyer referral service, you'll be pleasantly surprised at how responsive and helpful these attorneys are. You can always return to this site for help filing Pro Se once you know what you will need to do in your case. --Staff

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