WHERE DO I FILE?
Florida’s Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act reduces disputes between states when child-related issues may be brought in more than one state. The proper state is determined by evaluating:
- Where the Order was originally entered, or
- Where the child or the child’s family has the most significant contacts.
Each determination is factually specific. Consult with your attorney to determine which state is the proper state for your actions. Each state may need to exchange information or have multi-state hearings to determine or enforce orders.
The Hague Convention determines the means to request the return of a child who has been removed from the United States. If the country is a member of the Hague Convention, a central agency will assist in the return of the child to the United States.
Parents may apply to member countries provided:
- The parent seeking the return of the child had custody, either by practice or the actions of the parents
- The child is under 16 years old and a resident of the United States
- At the time the child was removed from the United States, the petitioning parent seeking return of the child was exercising custodial rights.
- Member countries have limited defenses to the application for the return of the child:
- If the petitioning parent knew where the child was located but failed to seek the return of the child for more than one year; or
- The petitioning parent was voluntarily exercising custodial rights; or
- If the return of the child would place the child in emotional or physical danger.
- It is the burden of the abducting parent to prove the asserted defense.
A custodial parent requires court approval or the other spouse’s written consent to move a child more than 50 miles from his or her current locale. If the other parent is attempting to relocate, contact an attorney immediately to obtain an order preventing the removal of the child until a hearing can be held to determine if the child can relocate.
If you are seeking to relocate with your child a distance of 50 miles or more, you must provide written notice to the other parent of your intentions to relocate and provide the other parent an opportunity to object to the relocation. Contact an attorney to ensure you have complied with the statutory requirements for notification requirements. If the other parent objects, a court order must be issued before the child will be permitted to relocate.
Putative Father Registry – An unmarried man must register with the Putative Father Registry if he seeks to assert paternity. Unmarried men are not required to register and presumed to be the biological father if:
- They were married to the mother at the time of the child’s birth; or
- The mother was not married at the time of the birth and the man acknowledged paternity at the hospital at the time of the child’s birth; or
- The mother was not married at the time of the birth and the man acknowledged paternity after the child’s birth by filing the Consenting Affidavit Acknowledging Paternity (Form DH 432) with the Office of Vital Statistics; or
- An order of paternity was issued by the court.
- All information provided to the Putative Father Registry is confidential and only released to:
- An adoption agency is searching for fathers in anticipation of the adoption of the minor child; or
- The registering unmarried biological father; or
- The court, by court order.
Establishing Paternity – Paternity must be established to ensure the parent child relationship is legally recognized. Unmarried fathers do not have rights to custody, parenting contact, parenting decisions or the rights to prevent relocation of the child without an order of paternity. Mothers require an order of paternity to establish child support obligations. If the father has any questions about paternity, the issue must be immediately raised and DNA testing requested as paternity orders, once established, may be impossible to set aside.