The need for emergency pick up orders can be brought about for various reasons. A couple of the most common reasons I’ve encountered in my practice as a Jacksonville family lawyer are appropriate to set the stage. Families made up fathers, mothers, and children where the parents were never married are common. When these families split, there are less issues to address than in an actual marriage, but the most important issue still remains– the children and how time will be split between the parents while continuing to raise them together. Under Florida law, the mother is the natural guardian of a child born out of wedlock. A father’s signature on a birth certificate creates a legal presumption that the father is, in fact, the father, but does not give automatic rights to the father for visitation. Visitation rights, referred to as “time sharing” must be established by the court with a parenting plan approved by the court.
I have found that most couples split without going to the court and filing paternity actions so a parenting plan can be established. They attempt to sort out visitation without family lawyers and without judges. This can work, but there are issues that can become thorns for the parents. Two common issues I encounter as a Jacksonville family lawyer are: (1) one parent refuses to send a child back after the child has been with the other for time sharing; and (2) one parent believes that the child is in some sort of danger while in the care of the other parent and wants the court to help reclaim possession of the child. Of course, these issues can arise even when a parenting plan has already been put in place, but resolving the issues is easier when there is an established case and a parenting plan in effect. Note that there are different variations of scenarios that include couples that were once married and couples that were never married; however, the general principles are the same. Continue reading