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Father of son was incarcerated b/c of physical abusive to me & unborn child how can I get sole parental rights?

Lakeland, FL |

Never married, father has multiple arrests for physical abusive and fighting in GA, where my son was born. The last arrest was b/c physical abuse to me & unborn child in front of my oldest son. Father was sentenced to 10 years in GA he was released early and rearrested & put in federal prison till July 16, 13. In the court document for abusive arrest he was ordered to stay away from me for unlimited time. I have a restraining order in FL w/ no expiration, and court granted me temp sole custody w/ no expiration. What is avg cost legal representation to get permanent sole parental rights? I have documents from all arrests proven history of violence, I have rec'd no support, and father has unstable mental history. Can I get sole custody?

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Best Answer

If you have never been married and the father has never filed for paternity you already have sole custody. You don't have to do anything unless he files for paternity and time sharing. If he does, his history and your restraining order can be used by statute to help you either limit or prohibit contact between the child and his father, depending on the best interests of the child. His failure to support you is also in your favor. If he does sue you for paternity, I would suggest you get an attorney. You could of course sue him yourself for paternity and seek sole custody, but it is my position generally that it is not in your best interest or that of your child to start a fight when you already have as a practical matter that which you are seeking and you have the legal advantage. The longer he does nothing, the worse it will look if someday he does file.

See the following portion of FL STAT. 744.301 Natural guardians
(1) The parents jointly are the natural guardians of their own children and of their adopted children, during minority. If one parent dies, the surviving parent remains the sole natural guardian even if he or she remarries. If the marriage between the parents is dissolved, the natural guardianship belongs to the parent to whom sole parental responsibility has been granted, or if the parents have been granted shared parental responsibility, both continue as natural guardians. If the marriage is dissolved and neither parent is given parental responsibility for the child, neither may act as natural guardian of the child. 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 the court enters an order stating otherwise.

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Heather Morcroft

Heather Morcroft


In your case, you have the additional benefit of the sole custody award in the restraining order.


I agree with my colleague. You have sole parental responsibility right now. Good luck!

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.


If he has never filed for paternity he does have any legal rights established to the child. You have sole custody if that is the case.

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 & criminal 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.


If you two were never married, you would have to file a paternity suit in order to adjudicate parental responsibility, timesharing and child support issues. Your injunction should be permanent and protect you until further order of the court. Understand that part of the paternity case may require you to attend mediation. There are many other things to discuss in order to give you an average price for a paternity suit. Since you have requested a price quote, I can tell you that those are normally discussed in consultations. I handle these matters and offer free consultation.

You can get a free consultation on this matter 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.

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