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What do I do about a mother that has left the state without my consent with my child?

Palm Harbor, FL |

She broke up with me a month ago, made me move out, and to seek a place of residence. I am in a unique situation cause the friend I live with has no income cause his family member pay for his bills therefore I keep getting disqualified for free help programs. I have lost my job due to the relocation and can't afford court or help anywhere.

I am on the child birth certificate and I signed paternal rights. I only got to see my son twice as should was refusing visits for my son from me. No legal proceedings or child support are in effect yet but I do plan on paying child support as I may have a job this Friday. I was told that she may have broken the law in moving out of state without any legal documentation. But I cannot confirm this, I need help and I don't know what to do or turn to.

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Attorney answers 3


Go to and find the instructions and forms for a petition to determine paternity and other relief. In the instructions, other required forms are listed.

Please note that this response is not intended to create any attorney-client relationship and is only based on the limited facts given. The response might change should additional facts be learned and should not be relied on as legal advice. It is recommended that you consult with an attorney who can properly assess the situation, as well as all pertinent facts, prior to taking any action based on the foregoing statements.

Michael Paul Sampson

Michael Paul Sampson


{I hit 'enter' too soon} File the forms and filing fee with the clerk of court in the county where the child last resided. You will need to propose a parenting plan and, if you oppose relocation, ask for immediate return of the child to the jurisdiction. Do not delay in pursuing your rights. Seek legal advice if the forms are overwhelming or, if you can't afford a lawyer, help from Legal Aid.


She has to get your written consent or a court Order prior to moving out of state. You can file a motion to have her and the child return to FL.


Unfortunately, signing a birth certificate in the state of Florida only obligates you to pay child support, and does not provide you any rights to timesharing or to enjoin her from returning to the state unless and until you establish yourself as the legal father in a court of law, either through DNA testing or stipulation.

Time is of the essence as you indicate that you only saw your child twice. If no legal proceedings for child support are pending, I don't know what could have occurred allowing you to "sign for your parental rights" outside a birth certificate. Again, signing the birth certificate, while the right thing to do morally perhaps, only obligates you you to pay support but provides no legal rights to be a father. Further, the longer she stays there, the more difficult it becomes and this should be done prior to her being in another state for six months..

I strongly suggest you file a Petition to Establish Paternity, Custody, Timesharing and Other Relief. If the Mother remains out of state for six months, things will become more complex, as she can then try and force you to litigate the issues in her home state, knowing you can't aford the costs or potential risks to your employment for all the related travel.

Once you establish paternity here in Florida, preferably by DNA testing for about $300.00 (which if she objects to, and you are the biological father, she will have to pay for, along with a portion of the fees). you can file an urgent motion to force her to return with the child, but remember this gets less likely the longer you allow her to remain out of state without filing your petition.

If a child support obligation has not yet been established, you may want to consult an attorney first to see if he or she can help, and what the cost will be before you start voluntary payments prior to a a paternity test. While its true there will be arrears when the paternity test comes back positive that you are the biological father, the court will give you time to pay off the arrears, and if funds are limited, you must secure your right to counsel first if you hope to have a relationship with your child. After she is in the new state for six months, she can file, and require you to defend against an action in that state, at which point a hard situation can become an impossible siituation both financially and emotionally...and can involve lots of travel out of state for hearings.

If money is short, please go talk to the staff at the pro se self help area in your local court house. You can also call your local county bar association and look for attorneys who will work on a significantly reduced fee. Otherwise, virtually every famiy law attorney is well versed in handling such cases.

Don't forget, file to establish paternity, either through testing or otherwise. Once you do, then do the emergeny hearing to enjoin the mother from again relocating and for a pick up order on the child.

Good luck!