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Never married, but our son was with his grandmother for a year and is now with me who has custody?

by Brandy
(Apopka,FL)

My son is 2, His dad and I were never married. He has been staying with his grandmother for a year now and I just recently decided to take on my responsibilities of being a mother and went to pick up our son. His dad and I have been separated for 4 months now,and he is living with his mom, our sons grandmother. Who has legal custody rights in Florida me or him? Also I am in Orange county he is in Lake County will that affect our case?

Comments for Never married, but our son was with his grandmother for a year and is now with me who has custody?

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Petition to Determine Paternity and Related Relief
by: FALDP Staff

Brandy,
In Florida, the question of whether or not unmarried Fathers have rights is complicated. First, if there is no prior court order governing timesharing or child support, Florida Statute 744.301 will apply. That statute states that:
"The mother of a child born out of wedlock is the natural guardian of the child and is entitled to primary residential care and custody of the child unless a court of competent jurisdiction enters an order stating otherwise."

BUT ... you may face opposition from the father and his mother. So be prepared. You stated that "you recently decided to take on responsibilities of being a mother ..." The court may not look favorably on your not taking responsibility until the child turned two years old.

The process in the court system is to file a Petition to Determine Paternity and Related Relief. That petition and other documents that must be filed along with it can be found on our site on the family law forms page and on the www.flcourts.org .

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