Can my girlfriend take our daughter out of state and then not come back? 3 Answers as of August 17, 2011

My ex fiance took our daughter to arkansas on vacation while we were still together, during the vacation I found out she had been unfaithful and left her. Now she is saying she won't come back to Orlando because she doesnt want to work. Can I go retrieve my daughter? Her home, belongings, birth certificate, and social are all in my possession. Her mother will not be happy but I am at the end of my rope, I havent seen her in nearly 2 months and I need to go get her.

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Joanna Mitchell & Associates, P.A.
Joanna Mitchell & Associates, P.A. | Joanna Mitchell
No. Unless your paternity has been legally established by a judge, you do not have any legal rights to the child (only because they have not yet been established). You need to file a paternity action in order to establish your rights legally as the biological father, which will also establish parental responsibility and time sharing with the child. You may not be able to bring her back, but you will be able to spend time (blocks of time, typically) with your daughter here in Florida. Of course, it might be possible for the child to live predominately with you, but that depends on the situation. You should consult with an experienced family law attorney in your area as soon as possible.
Answer Applies to: Florida
Replied: 8/17/2011
Michael D. Fluke, P.A.
Michael D. Fluke, P.A. | Michael D. Fluke
As an unmarried father, you do not have the right to simply take your child. You must first establish your legal rights through a paternity action. Along with the paternity action, you may consider filing a motion for a pick-up order. These can be complicated matters. It is crucial that you act quickly. I suggest you consult an experienced Family Law attorney to discuss your case in greater detail and learn all of your rights and options. Good luck.
Answer Applies to: Florida
Replied: 8/16/2011
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