THIS CHILD IS MINE—Florida Child Paternity Matters
WHAT DO YOU DO IF you have a child with your girlfriend and you co-parent successfully until one day she decides you may no longer see the child or she makes important parenting decisions you disagree with or she informs you that she is moving out-of-state with the child.
First, and this goes without saying, do not delay in taking action. It is critical that you understand how Florida law is relevant to your right to see and make decisions about your child and your obligation to take care of that child. In Florida, the mother of a child born out of wedlock is the natural guardian of the child. To obtain your rights to visitation/custody/time-sharing and other parental privileges you must first establish your paternity. “Paternity” is legal versus biological fatherhood. Until a biological father establishes his paternity, he has no rights and/or obligations to the child. As discussed in detail in Part 1 of this series, if you are the father and you have not established your legal parental rights, you can establish your paternity through an Administrative Paternity Order or a Judicial Paternity Order if you did not sign an Acknowledgement of Paternity when the child was born. Beware, the Administrative Paternity Order and the Acknowledgement of Paternity DO NOT establish or set forth your time-sharing or other parental privileges.