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  1. #1
    Ricky E is offline Junior Member
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    Unmarried father, can my girlfriend take/keep my daughter out of state?

    We are a couple in Florida and as of right now, my girlfriend is with my daughter on vacation in Tennessee for 2 months. We are still together and she does love me. She has said a few times in the past that since she is the mother, and we�re unmarried, that she has the rights to do what she wants. Her family is in Tennessee. If they tried to get her to stay, and she did stay, what rights do I have as the father? Can the baby be taken from me without my consent?
    My girlfriend has lived in my house with me and my family for 2 years, the baby has also been here with me her whole life (8 months, she's 9 months old now). I am a great father. I am tired of the threat, even if they�re jokes. Also, if she came back and down the line we broke up, can she legally take my daughter out of state? My concern started because around the time my daughter was born, her family talked about her going back with them to help her take care of the baby. I JUST became a father and they thought it'd be okay to take her from me right away. Her family aren't bad people, but I don't believe they care about me or my needs as a father. I thought she would be back near the end of this month (They've been gone since May 10th), and now she tells me they're coming back around July 15th... What if they keep pushing it back, etc.
    I wasn't happy in the first place about her taking my daughter with her for a month or so, and I felt like I didn't have any control over the situation. I felt as if I couldn't say no to her without fear that she might throw that threat back in my face ("I'm the mother, I can take her with me if I want to. You can't stop me.") She's not a bad girlfriend, but I am not 100% confident that if the right circumstances happened, she wouldn't try and take the baby from me.
    In the future, if she wants to go with her family again for another couple of months, I think she would do it again without the consideration for my feelings. You can see that I'm feeling like I'm missing chunks of my daughter's life. She could take her first steps any time now and I'm not going to see it.
    I appreciate any information, though I am not looking for judgments on my relationship or that type of advice. I know how my girlfriend works and no cookie cutter solution is going to work for me. I'm just trying to assess what control I have over my daughter as the father, even though we're unmarried. If that even makes a difference. Thank you all in advance.
  2. #2
    CdwJava is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ricky E View Post
    We are a couple in Florida and as of right now, my girlfriend is with my daughter on vacation in Tennessee for 2 months. We are still together and she does love me. She has said a few times in the past that since she is the mother, and we�re unmarried, that she has the rights to do what she wants. Her family is in Tennessee. If they tried to get her to stay, and she did stay, what rights do I have as the father? Can the baby be taken from me without my consent?
    Are you and she both adults?

    Until paternity has been established, there may not be a whole lot you can do if she seeks to stay where she is. This is one of the pitfalls of unwed couples having kids - you have no rights until you are legally established as dad. Having your name as dad on the birth certificate may not be sufficient to prove paternity, but it could be of help in seeking court ordered visitation.

    If you have been legally deemed to be the child's father, you might then have to seek custody and visitation orders from the court of jurisdiction (likely in FL where you had both lived with the child prior to her recent move). However, if she stays in TN for a while, TN may be the state of jurisdiction in a short time. I am not familiar with their laws on the matter so I don't know how much time might have to pass for her to be considered a resident such that the child and any custody and visitation might have to be addressed in THAT state.

    If she stays in TN you will almost certainly have to seek legal counsel to assist you as things could get very sticky until one jurisdiction decides to concede jurisdiction to another.
    A Nor Cal Cop Sergeant

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    And a croissant!"

    Seek justice,
    Love mercy,
    Walk humbly with your God

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  3. #3
    LdiJ is offline Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2004
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    65,153
    Quote Originally Posted by Ricky E View Post
    We are a couple in Florida and as of right now, my girlfriend is with my daughter on vacation in Tennessee for 2 months. We are still together and she does love me. She has said a few times in the past that since she is the mother, and we�re unmarried, that she has the rights to do what she wants. Her family is in Tennessee. If they tried to get her to stay, and she did stay, what rights do I have as the father? Can the baby be taken from me without my consent?
    My girlfriend has lived in my house with me and my family for 2 years, the baby has also been here with me her whole life (8 months, she's 9 months old now). I am a great father. I am tired of the threat, even if they�re jokes. Also, if she came back and down the line we broke up, can she legally take my daughter out of state? My concern started because around the time my daughter was born, her family talked about her going back with them to help her take care of the baby. I JUST became a father and they thought it'd be okay to take her from me right away. Her family aren't bad people, but I don't believe they care about me or my needs as a father. I thought she would be back near the end of this month (They've been gone since May 10th), and now she tells me they're coming back around July 15th... What if they keep pushing it back, etc.
    I wasn't happy in the first place about her taking my daughter with her for a month or so, and I felt like I didn't have any control over the situation. I felt as if I couldn't say no to her without fear that she might throw that threat back in my face ("I'm the mother, I can take her with me if I want to. You can't stop me.") She's not a bad girlfriend, but I am not 100% confident that if the right circumstances happened, she wouldn't try and take the baby from me.
    In the future, if she wants to go with her family again for another couple of months, I think she would do it again without the consideration for my feelings. You can see that I'm feeling like I'm missing chunks of my daughter's life. She could take her first steps any time now and I'm not going to see it.
    I appreciate any information, though I am not looking for judgments on my relationship or that type of advice. I know how my girlfriend works and no cookie cutter solution is going to work for me. I'm just trying to assess what control I have over my daughter as the father, even though we're unmarried. If that even makes a difference. Thank you all in advance.
    As an unwed mother she has sole custody by default and can go wherever she likes with the child. Your remedy in that case would be to file for custody/parenting time/child support in FL (before jurisdiction gets established in TN, which I believe is six months) and to try to get a judge to order her to return the child to FL. As an unwed father, you have no enforceable rights where your daughter is concerned until a court gives you those rights.

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