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Can I get sole custody in Florida as an unwed mother?

Sanford, FL |

Right now I am 6 months pregnant. I am not with the father. This is my first child. He has already threatened to take my child away from me. He is verbally abusive to me and I'm scared that he is going to try to take her. I don't feel safe having my daughter around him. What are my rights? If I don't put his name on the birth certificate will that protect me at all? If he legally tries to get custody what can I do to stop him? I don't care about child support as much as I care about protecting her.

Attorney Answers 1


As the mother of a child born out of wedlock, you will be the child's natural guardian and entitled to primary residential care and custody unless and until a court orders otherwise. So you call all of the shots including the child's name and who is on the birth certificate. It is up to him to take you to court to establish his parental rights. When and if he files for this, you will need a family law attorney to help you get a parenting plan that specifies how decisions will be made and by whom as well as a time-sharing schedule that will protect your child's safety. Your lawyer will help you present evidence of your concerns for your daughter's welfare with her father so the judge can make a decision that is in her best interests. Also, you need to know that this is all separate from child support in terms of not having one without the other. You and he cannot enter into a legal agreement wherein you will waive child support if he gives up his parental rights because child support is not your right to waive; it is the child's right. This child is the most important thing that has happened in your life and her welfare is far too precious to try to protect on your own without a good lawyer on your team. Please retain one right away so you can begin planning now without waiting for the child's birth.

This is for informational purposes only and is not legal advice upon which anyone should rely. Nor does it create any attorney client relationship.

Stanton L. Cobb
Board Certified Marital & Family Law Specialist
Fellow - American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers
P.O. Box 149223
Orlando, FL 32814-9223
Tel. (321)972-4643
Fax (407)374-2499

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