If you’re going through a divorce, you could face a legal battle. While some couples can split amicably, many fight over several issues. One area in which disagreements regularly arise is child custody. If you have children and are divorcing your partner, coming to an arrangement regarding their custody is vital. A common question that parents ask, “Is it possible under Florida law to get sole parental responsibility?” Here, we take a look at the possibilities under Florida law.
Florida No Longer Permits Sole Custody
Unfortunately for some parents, sole custody no longer exists in the state of Florida. The last time the Florida family courts awarded sole custody to a spouse was in 2008. In many cases, it simply isn’t possible to stop your spouse from having a relationship with his or her child. On the positive side, though, you can place limits on the amount of time-sharing and responsibility he or she receives. With the right advice from an experienced divorce attorney in Florida, you can pursue your desired custody hearing outcome.
What Is Shared Parental Responsibility?
In child custody cases in Florida, the courts view you and your former spouse as “co-parents.” In an average divorce, the state’s family courts award shared parental responsibility to both parents.
This involves two different issues:
- Parental responsibility
Time-sharing refers to the time spent with your children. Parental responsibility refers to your involvement in making decisions for your children. These decisions include such things as where they go to school, or what medication they take. Generally, both parents receive shared parental responsibility by the courts. Sometimes, however, there are exceptions. One parent will receive more parental responsibility and/or time-sharing than the other.
Are There Any Exceptions in Which Court Will Grant Sole Parental Responsibility?
In Florida, the family courts don’t like to eliminate the parents’ rights to see their children. However, the courts do believe that common sense should prevail. Provisions must act in the children’s best interests. This means that, in some situations, your former spouse may receive reduced time-sharing or parental responsibility privileges.
The court may award you a tie-breaking decision vote if your spouse is unable to decide with you. Also, the court may stipulate your spouse doesn’t receive visits from your children unless he or she meets certain conditions. A Florida divorce attorney can help you find evidence that shows your spouse isn’t fit for shared parental responsibility.
There are also some situations in which your spouse may endanger your children’s well-being. In such cases, you may receive sole parental responsibility by the courts. Be aware, though, that the courts will only use this option in extraordinary circumstances. Strong evidence will be necessary to prove sole parental responsibility is essential. Your Florida divorce attorney will work closely with you to gather this evidence.
Consulting with An Experienced Divorce Attorney in Florida
Although you may want to save money and forgo an attorney in your divorce, this may be a bad idea. You may end up with custody arrangements that result in your having less time with your children. Also, you may end up having to pay more child support than originally intended. These outcomes may both result in you paying more in the long term. This is why seeking professional advice from an experienced divorce lawyer in Florida is so important. Here at Thomas-McDonald Law, we dedicate ourselves to helping you achieve the desired outcome in your child custody case. Contact us today to find out more about how we can assist you.