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Does a father forfeit rights to the child if he abandons mother and child under FL family law

Port Orange, FL |

If a father abandons mother and child does he still have rights to the child?

I am 10 wks pregnant and my boyfriend of 5 years decided he didn't want to be with me anymore and moved to Indiana. He wants to be a part of the babies life but I'm not so sure that I want that considering he just packed up and left.

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Attorney answers 3


Laws in this area vary from state to state.


The legal standard in Florida is "the best interests of the child". So, if you wind up in court over this issue, the court will listen to the evidence of what he did, why and for how long. Generally, courts here will not refuse to allow any contact between a parent and a child (unless the parents rights are terminated) unless there is a very strong reason.


Bottom line: as the child hasn't been born yet, he has not necessarily abandoned the child. Remember that the ex- left you and not (necessarily) his child. The question is whether he has legal "rights". If he is not listed on the child's birth certificate and you were not married at the time of conception, he has not established any legal right to the child. This does not mean he doesn't have the ability to do so (he would have to file a paternity action). Unfortunately, this is one of those "time will tell" scenarios. One would hope the child would be better off with both parents involved, but we can't forecast what action he may or may not take to secure rights down the road.