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  1. #1
    asa1993 is offline Junior Member
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    I need to help my daughter

    What is the name of your state?What is the name of your state?Florida
    HI everyone! Okay I need to find out why I do not have "Legal Custody" of my daughter and how to get it. Her father and I have never been married and we broke up when I was three months pregnant. He does not have visitation, does not want visitation, and has basically had nothing to do with his daughter for almost 6 yrs. I was just informed I don't have "legal Custody" from child support enforcement. Her father and I have never gone to court, she has always just been with me. They also told me he could just pick her up from school and well, I wouldn't have any say so. I don't think he would but I don't want to take chances. The other question is, I am about to get married to a wonderful man that has been in mine and my daughter's life. He would love to adopt my daughter as his own and she too would love for him to do such. She has said numerous times she wants us to hurry up and get married so my fiance can be her new daddy. Anyways, do I need her fathers consent or can we do it on an abandonment basis? How long does the father have to be Missing in Action for the courts to consider it abandonment? How do I go about getting this done? Thank you!!!
  2. #2
    snostar is offline Senior Member
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    First of all, has paternity been legally established? How long has it been since there has been contact (or attempted contact) between the father and child? - By contact I mean, phone calls, snail mail, email, face to face, or support payments.
  3. #3
    chiqu1977 is offline Junior Member
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    reply

    you could go to court and get full custody and abandoment you could go and do as long as he has had nothing to do with her at least for 15 months.you also could go to court and terminate his parental rights due to abandoment and when you get married i would talk to a lawyer and see what the laws are in your state about him adopting.
  4. #4
    snostar is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by chiqu1977
    you could go to court and get full custody and abandoment you could go and do as long as he has had nothing to do with her at least for 15 months.you also could go to court and terminate his parental rights due to abandoment and when you get married i would talk to a lawyer and see what the laws are in your state about him adopting.
    You can't terminate parental rights if they are not yet established. Please cite FL code or case law that verifies your "15 month" time period to be accurate.
  5. #5
    nextwife is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by snostar
    You can't terminate parental rights if they are not yet established. Please cite FL code or case law that verifies your "15 month" time period to be accurate.

    Exactly. He doesn't START being the legal father UNTIL paternity is established. "Abandonment" can't start BEFORE he even "becomes" dad legally.
  6. #6
    asa1993 is offline Junior Member
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    I need help for my daughter

    Florida
    She was born in feb of 2000. We recieved the resulst of the paternity test feb of 2003. The courts have established him as her father. There had been no contact from oct 2000 to jan 2003. That contact was him and I at court house for child support hearing. Then no contact from jan 2003 to jan 05. He wrote me a letter requesting visitation. I agreed after discussing it in depth with him. He decided after 4 months he no longer wanted visitation because he got a new girlfriend and because I told him I didn't feel comfortable with him putting her in time out for seven hours. It's a long story and lots of details so just covering the basics here, please bare with me. He has made no contact in any means since june of this year. His employer pulls out his child support and sends it to the disbursement unit so I do recieve the child support. A friend of mine had a son and did an adoption with the abandonment basis. I do not know all the details but I do know she was receiving child support from the biological parent at the time. Unfortunately she has moved away so I don't know the details of the process she took. My first and main concern at this point is the custody thing. I do not want him picking her up from school and there be nothing I can do about it. The adoption we do want to do and I don't care how long it takes I just don't know when to start, how to start, or where to start with that. I don't want to start the process now if it won't hold up because he has only been gone for x amount of time. Know what I mean? My daughter went through an emotional rollercoaster with him this year and I don't want it happening again. I was thinking after I am married of just asking him if he would sign the papers. He may just say yes to save him the money each month. But if he says no than from there I need to start the clock on when I can file it on the abandonment basis. I don't know what I should do. I just know I need to protect my daughter. It took three months to get her behavior back in order after this ordeal. She was mad at the world and took it out on me. I have never bad mouthed her father and never will, not to her, but it isn't fair to her and it is not fair to me. I have been there every day good and bad and he has not. He should not have the right to break her heart and turn her whole life upside down. I'm sorry I am starting to get emotional. If some one knows what I should do and when I would be eternally grateful. I just need to know how to best protect my daughter.
  7. #7
    LdiJ is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by nextwife
    Exactly. He doesn't START being the legal father UNTIL paternity is established. "Abandonment" can't start BEFORE he even "becomes" dad legally.
    I have seen numerous cases where parental rights were terminated due to abandonment, where legal paternity had not been established. I know for certain that the laws state that if paternity isn't established within a certain number of years its abandonment.
  8. #8
    asa1993 is offline Junior Member
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    I need to help my daughter

    FLORIDA
    I appreciate everyone's responses to my post. However, I need to know where to go to get the paperwork to do such, what paperwork I need, and when I should file. Paternity has been established and has been established for almost 3 yrs now. Her "father" had not been around at all until februaury of 2005 till june of 2005. He decided he doesn't want anything to do with her because I told him putting her in time out for 7 hours straight was not acceptable. I do not want him coming back into her life again to just walk out again. Nor do I want him coming in her life again and treating her like he was. He also has another son but doesn't have custody of him either. His mother (the grandmother) has custody. My major concern right now is I found out that I am not considered to have legal custody of my daughter. There was never any custody hearings or anything. I have just always had her. I need to know how to get legal custody. I was told that because I do not have legal custody and because paternity has been determined that her "father" has every right to just go pick her up from school and keep her. I don't want that to happen. I NEED custody but don't know what I need to do to get it. To be honest I don't understand how I don't have custody seeing I gave birth to her, have raised her, and she has always lived with me. So far her "father" has never questioned that. I just don't need him finding out that he has every right to go get her and keep her from me. If I can find that information out than so can he. HOW DO I GET LEGAL CUSTODY IF THERE IS NO CUSTODY BATTLE GOING ON? Thank you so very much. I am just lost. I have called the clerk of courts and they say they can't give me legal advice. They wouldn't even tell me what paperwork I need to get custody. I am far from rich and can't hire an attorney. Legal aid won't help me either. It isn't a pressing enough issue for them to get involved. Please point me in the right direction. Thank you
  9. #9
    poeypooh is offline Member
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    To establish custody you have to go to court. You should be able to file the paperwork yourself and then decide if you want an attorney to represent you. You might be able to find affordable representation in your area. I found a very wonderful attorney here who doesnt charge me an arm and a leg. She is very ethical and very honest with me. When I am asking for something unreasonable or not allowed she lets me know. She doesnt just tell me what I want to hear. My point being is that you dont have to spend a fortune for good, respectable respresentation.

    Sounds like your ex wont even appear at the hearing. The first hearing is usually just a 10 minute deal anyway where neither party gets to state their case. Usually the judge requests mediation at the 1 as well. If the ex doesnt show for that one I think it would be safe to assume that he wont show for the 2nd. If he does show for the 1st then you should really consider getting an attorney.
  10. #10
    LdiJ is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by asa1993
    FLORIDA
    I appreciate everyone's responses to my post. However, I need to know where to go to get the paperwork to do such, what paperwork I need, and when I should file. Paternity has been established and has been established for almost 3 yrs now. Her "father" had not been around at all until februaury of 2005 till june of 2005. He decided he doesn't want anything to do with her because I told him putting her in time out for 7 hours straight was not acceptable. I do not want him coming back into her life again to just walk out again. Nor do I want him coming in her life again and treating her like he was. He also has another son but doesn't have custody of him either. His mother (the grandmother) has custody. My major concern right now is I found out that I am not considered to have legal custody of my daughter. There was never any custody hearings or anything. I have just always had her. I need to know how to get legal custody. I was told that because I do not have legal custody and because paternity has been determined that her "father" has every right to just go pick her up from school and keep her. I don't want that to happen. I NEED custody but don't know what I need to do to get it. To be honest I don't understand how I don't have custody seeing I gave birth to her, have raised her, and she has always lived with me. So far her "father" has never questioned that. I just don't need him finding out that he has every right to go get her and keep her from me. If I can find that information out than so can he. HOW DO I GET LEGAL CUSTODY IF THERE IS NO CUSTODY BATTLE GOING ON? Thank you so very much. I am just lost. I have called the clerk of courts and they say they can't give me legal advice. They wouldn't even tell me what paperwork I need to get custody. I am far from rich and can't hire an attorney. Legal aid won't help me either. It isn't a pressing enough issue for them to get involved. Please point me in the right direction. Thank you
    Ok...first issue...You will have to be married to your fiance for a certain amount of time before he will be able to adopt the child. Many states require you to be married for a full year first. I don't know what Florida's rules are.
    In addition, dad must also be absent from the child's life for a specific amount of time as well. That again is generally a year. Since dad was in contact with the child between February and June of this year An adoption is also absolutely NOT a do it yourself project. An adoption is something that truly requires an attorney. Its too easy to make a mistake without one.

    As far as custody is concerned, you really weren't give very accurate information. You do legally have custody of your child. A mother always has custody of her child on a default basis. However, I think that in Florida that once paternity is established that dad also has default custody as well. What you don't have is court ordered custody. Again, this is something that is best handled by an attorney. At least go get yourself a consult with one.

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