Unwed Father Custody in Florida
by Anonymous from Jacksonville, Florida, Duval County
My son has a 2 year old girl. He was never married to the mother. He has the child more than the mother and she has been getting WIC for the last two years without sending any food home with the child.
She is now threatening to go get on food stamps if my son doesn't give her child support.
A calendar of visitation has been kept over the last several months since she has threatened this before.
My son has no money to fight for custody. The mother lives in a very small house with her mother, brother, sister, and boyfriend.
Her sister and mother share a small room and her and her boyfriend share a very small room. My son lives with me and the child has her own bedroom here.
My son works nights so I watch the child while he is working and he is home during the day with her. My son is on probation for DUI so he has community service to complete, therefore the mother has to keep the child for a week at a time and this is why this has started.
Before, she would get her for a 2-3 days a week. Does he have a chance in court to gain custody should she try to get public assistance and they take him to court for child support? He doesn't have money for an attorney so he would have to fight this on his own.
Answer to Florida Child Custody Question
Both parents are responsible for supporting their child. Since your son is accustomed to keeping his daughter much of the time, my suggestion is that he formalize that arrangement through the court system.
Since she is already collecting WIC, it is just a matter of time before she applies for other financial benefits.
The first thing that the Department of Revenue will want to know is whether the father is paying support.
Department of Revenue will file for a child support order in her behalf and will not include any order for visitation for your son.
It will then be up to him to file for visitation. It happens all the time.
The Department of Revenue does not involve themselves in matters of child visitation or custody – only child support. Have a look at our Florida Parenting Plan
page for more information. My suggestion is that your son petition for visitation.
If he requests shared parental responsibility and also requests that the child stay with him at least 50% of the time, he should be able to minimize his child support obligation. The amount of child support awarded depends on both parents' incomes.Notice:
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