Visitation Rights Before Custody Order

by Leah from Jacksonville Beach, Florida, Duval County

What are a parent's visitation rights, who has moved out of state, and has not provided support for his child for almost two years.

There is no custody order and no divorce decree.

Answer to Florida Custody & Visitation Question

Dear Leah,

If he is the biological father of your child, he has at least a continuing responsibility for support, and visitation rights. However, because there is no court order in place, visitation and contact should be up to both of you to agree upon.

Florida follows the "best interests" doctrine for all visitation and custody issues involving children. As long as the best interests of the child are reasonably asserted, you should have nothing to be worried about.

Sometimes it is best to have the court establish a Parenting Plan, which spells out visitation, time sharing, and contact with the children for the non-custodial parent.

Also, if you have not established paternity and child support, you can file to have all of these issues determined formally with a Petition to Determine Paternity. My suggestion is to learn more about the Petition for Paternity, and the Florida Parenting Plan so you can decide how to go forward.

Remember, as long as the court has not entered an order in either case, you and the child's father will have to try to work this out together. This is certainly not an easy thing to do. Have a look at the following pages for more information about visitation rights for unmarried and separated parents...

Unmarried Child Custody

Parental Rights For Fathers

Visitation Rights & Child Support

Visitation Rights For Fathers

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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