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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 118200
Experience:  Experienced attorney: Family law, Estate Law, SS Law etc.
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my son found out he was the father of a child through dna.

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my son found out he was the father of a child through dna. the child is 2 now and the mother never changed the name on the birth cert to my son. We did not push but we were able to have visitation and eventually the mother abandoned the daughter with us. My son and I took her for a temp time but the mother refused to get the medical insurance which caused my son to force her to take her daughter. To spite us she gave full custody to an unknown aunt in FL behind our backs. My son and I live in NY and the baby was born in NY. I have no idea where the mother is. I believe my granddaughter is in FL now but address is unknown. We have a legal DNA test and was wondering what are our rights? please help
Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking.

Grandparents rights in both FL and NY are very limited now since the US Supreme Court held in Troxel v. Granville, 530 U.S. 57 (2000), that the right to make decisions for a child was a fundamental right of the biological parent.

Thus, any action taken here must first be taken by your son. If your son was never named on the birth certificate as the father and there is no court order establishing paternity, I am afraid that this must be his first step (you did not mention if this was done, so I am including it anyhow). He has to file a suit for paternity, which means he must locate the mother and the court will order the mother to present the child for testing (since the court will order their own DNA test). Upon establishment of paternity by the court, they will order the change in the birth certificate to reflect his paternity.

Once paternity is established by the court, or if it already has been then you skip the first step, your son has to then file a petition for custody in the court and ask the court to 1) order her to produce the child in court (if she does not the court can jail her until she does) and 2) can determine that your son deserves physical custody in the best interests of the child, which they generally will do unless he is proven to be unfit (as mom does not have custody).

I am afraid the problem here is not knowing where she is or at least where the child is, because she needs to be actually served with the petition for paternity and/or for custody. If you cannot find her to serve her, you would need to use a private investigator if you want to continue to fight for custody of the child for your son. If you could at least determine where the child is, your son could sue in FL and get paternity and custody established in FL by serving the custodians of the child with his suits. Thus, your son will first need to find either the child or the mother and would need to use a private investigator to do so if he cannot do so on his own (or you cannot do so).

Once your son has paternity and custody established, then as grandparents you can join in the case to have grandparents rights established for the child as well. Additionally, once your son gets custody established, he can also voluntarily give the guardianship of the child to you if he chooses.

I am afraid that these are the legal means for you to try to pursue this matter as you have presented it.

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