"At common law, a father and his illegitimate child shared no legal relationship whatever, and the putative father was under no obligation to contribute to the child's support. Brown v. Brown, 183 Va. 353, 355, 32 S.E.2d 79, 80 (1944). In modern times, however, the harsh common-law rules on the subject of parental rights and responsibilities regarding illegitimate children have been modified by statute and case law. Nevertheless, upon birth of an illegitimate child, the right of the natural mother to immediate custody is superior. Commonwealth v. Hayes, 215 Va. 49, 52, 205 S.E.2d 644, 647 (1974)."
In the Taylor case, the father did not sign an acknowledgment of paternity and was not named on the birth certificate.
In your situation, "If paternity has been established by one of the ways described above, and you are not married:
- The mother's parental/custodial rights may continue until a court says otherwise. ///
The federal parental kidnap law applies only when a parent removes a child from the state in violation of a court order. My opinion is that you are free to leave with the kids and then file a custody case in Michigan before he files one in Virginia. See section(###) ###-####b) of the above link which gives Michigan jurisdiction even before you have been there for 6 months.
My answer to your question is Yes, but you might want to double check this with a local attorney before you leave the State.. You can get a free consultation from some of the attorneys listed by location here. You can find a Michigan attorney here.
If the father has not paid any support and you have family in Michigan, you have a strong case. Even if he has paid support, you have legal custody and his signing an acknowledgment of paternity merely gives him the right to sue for custody or visitation.
It sounds like you are making the right move for both yourself and your kids.
I hope this information is helpful.