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Do I need to get visitation court ordered for my daughter's father?

Jacksonville, FL |

My daughter's father and I were not married when she was born. Do I have to get visitation court ordered before I can trust him with her? I'm worried that without it being court ordered he would keep her. Are my concerns valid or am I overreacting and even if he wanted to keep her I would still be able to file for kidnapping?

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Attorney answers 6


Yes, your concerns are valid. Without a court order he does not have to return her if he convinces law enforcement he is the biological father and it would not be kidnapping. Y

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If you have these concerns then your answer should be yes you should get the court involved.

If you were not married to the father at the time the child was born he has no legal rights at this time and a paternity action needs to be filed. By filing a paternity action, you are establishing his legal rights to the child and will also have a court ordered parenting plan put in place that will govern time sharing between you, the father and the child, child support, parental responsibility, etc. Most importantly, it is ordered by the court and enforceable by the court if he violates it. It also provides you with a court order to show law enforcement if he decides to keep the child and not return her when it is not his time sharing.

I highly recommend you consult with a local and experienced family law attorney to prepare yourself to file a paternity action and to protect your rights.

You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation since every case is different and not all information is relayed in an online question. The Law Office of Ophelia Bernal-Mora, P.A. is a family law firm located in Orlando, Florida, we invite you to contact us and welcome your calls at 407-354-5223. Contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship. Please do not send any confidential information to us until such time as an attorney-client relationship has been established.


Yes your concerns are valid and I agree with my colleague. You're going to need to file for legal paternity if you two were never married in order to get a court order regarding timesharing. If he is to take the child, there is nothing that compels him to return her to you without a court order. Call a lawyer today.

You can get a free consultation by calling 407-617-1064. Please understand that the information given is not to be construed as legal advice. More information would be needed in order to make a more accurate legal determination on your matter. Furthermore, an attorney-client relationship does not begin until a retainer agreement has been signed by the attorney and client.


I agree with the other attorneys generally. The Father has no legal rights to possession of the child absent the entry of an order granting him such rights. He would have to file a petition to establish paternity and for other relief to accomplish this. Otherwise, you call all of the shots until he establishes his rights!

Bill Rosenfelt 407-462-8787 (Orlando/Longwood/Central Florida)

Please be advised that any answers or information disseminated above do not constitute legal advice and that the attorney responsible for this posting is merely attempting to participate in a Q & A session intended to be helpful but certainly not intended to be legal advice. It is important that you understand that no attorney-client relationship has been formed and that the attorney has no obligation to follow up with you with your legal issue unless you separately contact said attorney and arrange for him to legally represent you.


As usual Ms. Mora and Mr. Rosenfelt are absolutely correct. Mom has all the rights to a child born out of wedlock and dad has none. Nonetheless if dad snatches the kid you'll still need a court order to get him/her back. Why not get it now and avoid problems of finding him later to get him served with process.

This answer was provided as a courtesy to you and no attempt was made to establish any type of attorney/client relationship.


Since you and the alleged father were not married at the time of birth, the father is not recognized as the legal father. If you are having these concerns then you must believe, based on your personal relationship, that he could be capable of doing something like that. It would definitely be in your best interest to pursue a paternity action if you want him in the child's life and to have some legal recourse should he attempt to keep her.

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