Child with two suitcasesThis is the next post in my series on cases in which unmarried parents wish to relocate their child outside the state of Florida. My last post provided an overview of topics which this series will be addressing. It also stressed the need to speak with an attorney as soon as possible if you find yourself in such a situation. It is important that you speak with counsel sooner, and not later, in order to ensure that your rights remain protected. In this post I will discuss an important topic – how paternity impacts mothers and fathers in such situations. If you or a loved one are in need of assistance then contact my Melbourne area office to speak with a lawyer.

Florida is like many states in that a father will have no rights or obligations until paternity has been established. This means that a father will have no say as to how his son or daughter is raised and where they live. If the mother in such a situation wishes to leave the state with the child then she is free to do so. It is also important to understand that, without the establishment of paternity, that a mom will also have no right to receive child support, to have the dad help with healthcare expenses, etc. The most crucial point in this discussion, however, is that a father will have options if a mother takes their child away from Florida before paternity has been established.

Under the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA), matters involving child custody will be heard in the last state where the child resided for at least six consecutive months. This means that a father may file a paternity action, in the state of Florida, if the mother has moved out of state with the child within the last six months. In addition to determining paternity, the Florida Courts will also have jurisdiction to decide custody, visitation child support, etc. Depending on the facts of the case, the mother may even be required to return to Florida with the child. It is important to remember that how the Judge will rule, in any given case, will always depend on the facts of the matter. These are just some of the reasons why it may be advisable for a mother, who wishes to relocate, to gain a court order even if paternity has not already been established.

If you are an unmarried parent then contact my office to speak with a Melbourne child relocation lawyer. I will use your initial consultation to help you understand your options and to help you decide on the best course of action. I understand the serious nature of your situation. I will take your case seriously. Contact us today to speak with an attorney. We also service clients in the Brevard County cities of Titusville, Cocoa, Palm Bay, Grant, Valkaria, and Rockledge, as well as in the Indian River County areas of Fellsmere, Sebastian, Vero Beach, Indian River Shores, and Orchid.