How Do I Get Custody of My Children From Another State if I Wasn't Married?
In most states, a paternity action takes the form of a civil lawsuit. Only certain persons or parties have legal standing to bring a paternity action, including the mother of the child; the mother of an expected child; a man alleging that he is the biological father of a child; a man alleging that he is the biological father of an expected child; the child; a personal representative of the child; the mother and father of a child (a voluntary action filed together); the mother and father of an expected child (a voluntary action filed together); a state social service agency, interceding in cases of child neglect or need; and a prosecutor's office, interceding in cases of child neglect or need. An action for paternity may be filed by the child. In many states, after a child reaches the "age of majority," he has another one to five years to seek the establishment of paternity.
A court will not automatically order paternity tests simply because a paternity action has been filed. It will review the petition to determine if there is sufficient information contained therein to warrant or justify the compelling of such a test. If the court orders a paternity test, the mother, child, and alleged father will all be tested at a court-designated facility. A court determination of paternity is final, and a copy of the court's order will be needed to establish the child's rights, both present and future. A man is presumed to be the father if he has been married to the mother for a certain time before the child is born. That presumption may be rebutted by clear and convincing standards of evidence, such as a DNA test. A man not a presumed father may bring an action for the purpose of declaring that he is the natural father of a child having a presumed father. If a biological father is determined to be a man not married to the mother, that man may be ordered to have visitation rights, as well as other obligations.
The answer will depend on whether you've been determined legally to be the father and is there is a court order regarding custody or visitation already in effect. If you have a support order, it's likely that a ruling on paternity has been made. Typically, the court that orders custody retains custody to decide future matters, such as a motion to modify a custody order. A new motion for custody, when there is no preexisting order, is generally filed where the children reside. I suggest consultiung a local attorney who can review all the facts and documents involved. Please feel free to consult our attorney directory at the following link:
Please see the following FL law to determine applicability:
742.10 Establishment of paternity for children born out of wedlock.--
(1) Except as provided in chapters 39 and 63, this chapter provides the primary jurisdiction and procedures for the determination of paternity for children born out of wedlock. If the establishment of paternity has been raised and determined within an adjudicatory hearing brought under the statutes governing inheritance, or dependency under workers' compensation or similar compensation programs; if an affidavit acknowledging paternity or a stipulation of paternity is executed by both parties and filed with the clerk of the court; if an affidavit, a notarized voluntary acknowledgment of paternity, or a voluntary acknowledgment of paternity that is witnessed by two individuals and signed under penalty of perjury as provided for in s. 382.013 or s. 382.016 is executed by both parties; or if paternity is adjudicated by the Department of Revenue as provided in s. 409.256, such adjudication, affidavit, or acknowledgment constitutes the establishment of paternity for purposes of this chapter. If an adjudicatory proceeding was not held, a notarized voluntary acknowledgment of paternity or voluntary acknowledgment of paternity, which is witnessed by two individuals and signed under penalty of perjury as specified by s. 92.525(2), creates a rebuttable presumption, as defined by s. 90.304, of paternity and is subject to the right of any signatory to rescind the acknowledgment within 60 days after the date the acknowledgment was signed or the date of an administrative or judicial proceeding relating to the child, including a proceeding to establish a support order, in which the signatory is a party, whichever is earlier. Both parents must provide their social security numbers on any acknowledgment of paternity, consent affidavit, or stipulation of paternity. Except for affidavits under seal pursuant to ss. 382.015 and 382.016, the Office of Vital Statistics shall provide certified copies of affidavits to the Title IV-D agency upon request.
(2) Pursuant to the federal Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996, each party is required to provide his or her social security number in accordance with this section. Disclosure of social security numbers obtained through this requirement shall be limited to the purpose of administration of the Title IV-D program for child support enforcement.
(3) The department shall adopt rules which establish the information which must be provided to an individual prior to execution of an affidavit or voluntary acknowledgment of paternity. The information shall explain the alternatives to, the legal consequences of, and the rights, including, if one parent is a minor, any rights afforded due to minority status, and responsibilities that arise from acknowledging paternity.
(4) After the 60-day period referred to in subsection (1), a signed voluntary acknowledgment of paternity shall constitute an establishment of paternity and may be challenged in court only on the basis of fraud, duress, or material mistake of fact, with the burden of proof upon the challenger, and under which the legal responsibilities, including child support obligations of any signatory arising from the acknowledgment may not be suspended during the challenge, except upon a finding of good cause by the court.
(5) Judicial or administrative proceedings are not required or permitted to ratify an unchallenged acknowledgment of paternity.