When the state brings allegations of abuse, abandonment, neglect, or failure to protect your child, you may find yourself dragged into dependency court and possibly criminal court as well. Dependency court is a combination of family court and criminal court where the Florida Rules of Civil Procedure govern while still attempting to provide the parties with due process. The standard is the "best interests of the child" if the petition is against you, but changes to "detriment to the child" if you are the non-offending parent.
When dealing with custody issues the first thing you must determine is who has jurisdiction. Jurisdiction is a State's power to make decisions over a certain issue and can be a tricky thing. When it comes to custody, states look to something called the UCCJEA, or Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act to determine jurisdiction. Jurisdiction cannot be consented to by the parties. So this is not a matter of what two parents agree to, it is a matter of determining which state has the power to make decisions under the UCCJEA.
Under Florida Statute 744.301 a Mother of a child born out of wedlock (unmarried) is the natural guardian of the child. As such, she has ALL of the rights to that child. NOTHING changes this as a fact for unmarried dads EXCEPT filing a Petition for Paternity and requesting that the Court grants you Parental Responsibility (decision making rights) and Timesharing ("custody"). The name of the Petition - Petition for Paternity - is confusing. It leads dad's - and moms - to believe that it is related to DNA testing or who the biological dad is. This is not an accurate understanding - we simply call "custody" actions for unmarried couples "paternity actions".