No matter the circumstances, divorces are usually very complex and emotionally painful. It’s likely that if your partnership has come to an end, you’ll be in need of divorce help. This is especially true if children are involved. Your divorce lawyers can help you navigate the process of coming to a custody agreement, known today as a Parenting Plan. There are a few things you should be aware of that pertain specifically to divorces and child custody in Florida.
Sole custody is not granted
If you think you want to seek sole custody of your children, you may be in for a surprise. Sole custody has not been granted in Florida since 2008. Florida family courts will essentially never allow a parent to be completely cut off from their child. However, a parent can pursue and may be granted sole responsibility of their child.
The concept of ‘custody’ isn’t even used in Florida
Not only is sole custody no longer granted in Florida, but Florida has completely stricken the idea of custody from their laws. This is also true of the terms ‘visitation,’ ‘primary residence,’ and more. Instead, courts will award shared parental responsibility, which involves time sharing agreements, to both parents in most cases, as both parents are seen as “co-parents” of the child or children.
Disagreements are solved differently
If it’s been proven that a parent doesn’t have the ability to make rational decisions in a child’s best interests, the other parent may be granted authority for decision-making, at least in certain situations involving medical care, schooling, religious preference and the like. However, this authority is very difficult to obtain, and requires strong evidence.
Courts can make exceptions
Although the shared time and responsibility split is typically 50/50 with either parent, a Court can vary from this if there’s a documented reason to do so. Overnight visits can be restricted if a parent is known to abuse drugs, engage in dangerous criminal activity, lives in unsafe or questionable conditions, or has a severe mental illness. Supervised visitations are notoriously difficult to obtain, as there must be documented proof that one parent is undoubtedly dangerous. Your divorce law firm can help you with these cases, as they can be extremely difficult to prove in a court of law.
There are options
In certain situations, sole parental responsibility is what’s in the best interest of your child. It’s not commonly granted except in extreme circumstances, so parents should try to work out a shared responsibility agreement if at all possible. However, if your child could be put at risk by doing so, you should, by all means, attempt to secure sole parental responsibility or restricted or supervised visitation. You’ll need to have a clear list of reasons for pursuing this relief and work with your divorce lawyers to determine whether your reasons are viable and whether they’re well-documented enough to pursue it. While it’s extremely rare to be given sole responsibility, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try. Be sure to ask a family lawyer about what’s required of you in these circumstances and discuss whether the outcome is realistic.
Going through a divorce and custody battle can be extremely isolating, but that doesn’t mean you have to go through it alone. Our divorce lawyers can help and fight for you along every step of the way. To find out more, contact the Affordable Divorce Center today.