Ocala, FL asked in Child Custody, Child Support and Family Law for Florida

Q: The alleged father of my four months old just filed with department of child services...

He’s not on birth cert and no paternity confirmed legally yet. I’ve encouraged him at every corner to build a relationship with my daughter, tried to have him visit more etc. he lives 1.5 hrs away but even still, has seen her about 13 times in the 4 months since her birth. I’ve in no way alienated him, or put limits on his involvement but he just isn’t an active parent. I advised him that once he is consistent with visits more than every 7+ days and he’s no longer a stranger to her, after a year of doing so I’d add him to birth certificate, and include his last name with mine & begin timesharing plans. He didn’t want to wait a year. He has consistently proven himself unreliable and I don’t trust his words vs actions. He filed to establish paternity and I’m not sure what to do to be on the defense. I want 100% physical and decision/legal rights. I don’t want to take her from him, He’s just not responsible enough to make decisions. All this is with valid reasoning

1 Lawyer Answer
Melissa Paniagua
Melissa Paniagua
  • Miami, FL
  • Licensed in Florida

A: If he has recently filed a petition for paternity, you would have 20 days to file a response with the Court in which you can file an answer and counter petition in which you can affirm and deny the allegations he has made in his Petition and state any defenses you may have and request what you would like to establish in regards to decision making, parental responsibility, and timesharing plan. Once the petitions are in place there will be exchanging of financial documents and you will probably be required to attend mediation in order to resolve some of the issues.

It would be best to get in contact with an attorney as soon as possible in order to avoid filing a late response and a default being entered against you.

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