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I am an unmarried mother and have a son who is now 3. The father…

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I am an unmarried mother...
I am an unmarried mother and have a son who is now 3. The father keeps threatening to take my son. The fathers name is ***** ***** birth certificate showing paternity. I have yet to file for child support and know that i need to. He has stated that even if i did he would not pay. He does randomly buy some specific needs such as clothing and shoes, but will not let him keep them at my home, and the ones he has he wants them all back. He has verbally threatened me on several occasions that he would have somebody do me bodily harm, and i do have this on a recording app on my phone. I live paycheck to paycheck and barely have enough to care for the two of us, and he uses this against me for the reason why he should have custody of his son. We had him in a nice daycare so that we could both work and he paid for the first couple of weeks and then would not pay, and i managed to do this on my own for a short while, but have now pulled him out because i can no longer afford this. He has done everything he can do to try and bring hardship to me, so that he can get custody of our son.
Submitted: 3 years ago.Category: Family Law
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12/15/2014
Family Lawyer: Lucy, Esq., Lawyer replied 3 years ago
Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 32,268
Experience: Attorney with experience in family law.
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Hi,

My name is ***** ***** I'd be happy to answer your questions today. I'm sorry to hear about your situation.

The first thing that I have to tell you, because this is EXTREMELY important is that it is a felony to record someone in Florida without their consent. You cannot use those recordings in court against your child's father, and based on what you've said about him, it is not even in your best interests to let him know the recording exist. He could try to put you in jail AND sue you for civil damages of up to $1,000 per recording. This is treated very seriously in Florida. You cannot use those recordings. See Fl. Stat., Sections 934.03 and 934.10. (Note: this would not apply to voice mail messages he left for you)

As far as the child custody goes, you have a right to go to court and file for sole custody plus child support. He doesn't get to decide that he doesn't want to pay support, and he doesn't get to terrorize you until you don't go to court for money that your child—and his child—is legally entitled to. You didn't make that baby alone and you don't have to support it alone. Until you have a court order, if he picked up your son and refused to return him, there is legally nothing you could do about it. Therefore, it is in your best interests and your son's best interests to get a court order as soon as possible. You do not have to allow the father to see your son until you get a court order.

Written communications may be used against the person who made them, so if you want a record of the father's unreasonable behavior and threats, you have a right to insist that all communication be in email or via text message. You do not have to answer the phone when he calls or speak to him in person.

If you have evidence of his threats to harm you, you can file a police report for illegal harassment and get a restraining order against him. Both of those things will count against him if he tries to get custody.

When someone applies for custody, the judge is looking at a bunch of different factors. The behavior of each parent is important. The factors are set out in Fl. Stat., Section 61.13 and from what you've said, many of the factors will benefit you. He wouldn't automatically get custody just because he asked for it.
(a) The demonstrated capacity and disposition of each parent to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing parent-child relationship, to honor the time-sharing schedule, and to be reasonable when changes are required.(b) The anticipated division of parental responsibilities after the litigation, including the extent to which parental responsibilities will be delegated to third parties.(c) The demonstrated capacity and disposition of each parent to determine, consider, and act upon the needs of the child as opposed to the needs or desires of the parent.(d) The length of time the child has lived in a stable, satisfactory environment and the desirability of maintaining continuity.(e) The geographic viability of the parenting plan, with special attention paid to the needs of school-age children and the amount of time to be spent traveling to effectuate the parenting plan. This factor does not create a presumption for or against relocation of either parent with a child.(f) The moral fitness of the parents.(g) The mental and physical health of the parents.(h) The home, school, and community record of the child.(i) The reasonable preference of the child, if the court deems the child to be of sufficient intelligence, understanding, and experience to express a preference.(j) The demonstrated knowledge, capacity, and disposition of each parent to be informed of the circumstances of the minor child, including, but not limited to, the child’s friends, teachers, medical care providers, daily activities, and favorite things.(k) The demonstrated capacity and disposition of each parent to provide a consistent routine for the child, such as discipline, and daily schedules for homework, meals, and bedtime.(l) The demonstrated capacity of each parent to communicate with and keep the other parent informed of issues and activities regarding the minor child, and the willingness of each parent to adopt a unified front on all major issues when dealing with the child.(m) Evidence of domestic violence, sexual violence, child abuse, child abandonment, or child neglect, regardless of whether a prior or pending action relating to those issues has been brought. If the court accepts evidence of prior or pending actions regarding domestic violence, sexual violence, child abuse, child abandonment, or child neglect, the court must specifically acknowledge in writing that such evidence was considered when evaluating the best interests of the child.(n) Evidence that either parent has knowingly provided false information to the court regarding any prior or pending action regarding domestic violence, sexual violence, child abuse, child abandonment, or child neglect.(o) The particular parenting tasks customarily performed by each parent and the division of parental responsibilities before the institution of litigation and during the pending litigation, including the extent to which parenting responsibilities were undertaken by third parties.(p) The demonstrated capacity and disposition of each parent to participate and be involved in the child’s school and extracurricular activities.(q) The demonstrated capacity and disposition of each parent to maintain an environment for the child which is free from substance abuse.(r) The capacity and disposition of each parent to protect the child from the ongoing litigation as demonstrated by not discussing the litigation with the child, not sharing documents or electronic media related to the litigation with the child, and refraining from disparaging comments about the other parent to the child.(s) The developmental stages and needs of the child and the demonstrated capacity and disposition of each parent to meet the child’s developmental needs.(t) Any other factor that is relevant to the determination of a specific parenting plan, including the time-sharing schedule.

You do not need a lawyer to file for custody and child support. The court has forms online that you can use:
http://www.flcourts.org/resources-and-services/court-improvement/problem-solving-courts/family-courts/family-law-forms.stml

I realize that I've given you quite a bit of information, so please reply without rating if you have any questions, and I'm happy to clarify for you.
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