If you’re getting divorced or separated in Florida, child custody
will likely be a hotly contested issue in your case. It can be difficult
for spouses to come to an agreement as to who spends what amount of time
with the children, what the general ground rules are, and how children
will spend the majority of their lives until they reach the age of 18.
In some cases, parents wish to attempt to obtain “sole custody”
of their children for a number of reasons, be it protection, spite, or
as an attempt to get the upper hand in negotiations.
“Sole custody” is a common term for essentially having a monopoly
over spending time with your children as well as the ability to make decisions
how they live their lives, such as where they go to school, how they are
raised religiously, and what activities they are allowed to participate
in. However, these instances are nearly impossible to obtain in Florida,
as the state’s laws are designed to keep both parents involved in
the lives of their child to the maximum possible extent. The courts assume
that a child needs the presence of both of their parents in order to grow
and lead a happy and productive life. As a result, they frequently throw
out or reject any parent’s requests to restrict the other parent’s rights.
There are exceptions to this, however. Abuse is perhaps the most prevalent.
If a child has been the victim of domestic violence from one parent, the
other is obligated to do everything in their power to stop the abuse and
get the child to safety. Neglect is another case, such as allowing a child
to become injured or ill as a result of poor or negligent care provided
by one parent.
In these instances, the courts can do several things to restrict a parent’s
ability to spend time with their child, but even then they try to err
away from completely eliminating a parent’s involvement in their
child’s life. The offending parent may be limited in several ways,
- Denying visitation until further notice (rarely does this stay permanent)
- Allowing supervised visitation only
- Denying overnight visitation
- Implementing other child protection measures
Each of these cases is unique and the courts will make their decisions
based on what they believe to be the best interests of the child.
What this also means is that parents who attempt to obtain sole custody
out of spite or to deny the other parent their rights as a bargaining
chip will be frowned upon severely, and may lead to negative repercussions
in a divorce case. Odds are this request will be denied and the requesting
parent could be further penalized in a different provision of the divorce
as compensation for it. This can also be true for instances of parental
alienation, where one parent attempts to sabotage the relationship between
their child and the other parent.
If you would like more information about a child custody matter, the Daytona
Beach divorce attorneys at
Buckmaster & Ellzey may be able to help. With more than 20 years of service to our name, our
firm has stood up for the rights of numerous clients who have faced a
wide range of family law issues. We understand how sensitive and emotionally
strenuous a family law matter can be, and our team strives to protect
your rights and provide you with compassionate counsel and exceptional
service in the most professional manner possible. Your interests and your
children’s interests are our number-one priority, and we are dedicated
to protecting them through every step of your divorce process.
If you are facing a child custody issue, call Buckmater & Ellzey today
at 888.785.6540 and schedule a case evaluation.