Unwed Father Stop Relocation

by Austin from Panama City, Florida, Bay County

I'm an unwed father paying child support. Can the mother of my children move to another state leaving me without any visitation while I'm paying child support?

And what are my rights as the father, do I have any say because one of my daughters has a severe lung and heart condition, an her doctors are all here.

She plans to move them up north to a harsher climate which can't be good for the children.

Answer to Florida Child Custody Question

Dear Austin,

My understanding is that as a biological father you have rights and a say as to how your children are raised and you have a right to have your day in court.

But you must have your biological fathers rights established.

Just because you are paying child support does not necessarily guarantee that you have your parental rights established.

If you have your rights established through a court order, like a Final judgment for a Petition to Determine Paternity, and there is an existing Parenting Plan, your children's mother is required by law to ask the court's permission to move if she plans to move more than 50 miles away with your children. See Florida's child relocation statute § 61.13001 for more information.

However, if you do not have your parental rights established as an unmarried biological father and there is no court ordered Parenting Plan, the only requirement she has to comply with is to notify the child support agency of her new address.

If there is an existing parenting plan, you can object to her Petition for Relocation when you receive it.

Otherwise, you will need to file a Petition to Determine Paternity to have your biological fathers rights established by court and force the issue of relocation.

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 Unwed Father Stop Relocation

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Mother Left Florida With Kids
by: Scott from Florida

My ex girlfriend went on Christmas vacation to Philadelphia with my 2 kids, age 3 and 8 and decided to not return, my 8 year old has not been out of school here in Florida for 5 weeks. I just found out today that she will be enrolling in school up there, she never told me she was not coming back she had a return plane ticket and everything.

The kids were living in my house and have their clothes and toys and everything there, we have no custody orders from the state of Florida, and it was probably stupid on my part, but what should I now do besides contact an attorney and can I get sole custody of them and back here in Florida?

--This is the sort of thing that the relocation law was supposed to prevent. But as you are aware, your parental rights have not been properly established, and without that, your options are limited. I agree that your best course of action is to hire a lawyer at this point.

I suggest you act as quickly as you can, because once residency is established for your ex and the kids in Pennsylvania, jurisdiction will be there instead of Florida. --Staff

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