Sole Child Custody in Florida
In Florida Child custody is governed under Florida Statutes 61:13 . Florida courts typically lean more towards awarding shared parental responsibility and time-share, however they may order sole parental responsibility and restricted time-share when circumstances warrant it. It is very important for parents to first differentiate between
time-share of the children and parental responsibility.
Defining Physical Custody and Parental Responsibility in Florida Family Law
It is important to note that shared parental responsibility is not the same as “time-sharing.” Timesharing is a parent’s access to the child whereas responsibility provides parents with decision making capabilities for the child. In both cases the courts will look to the best interest of the children.
The courts generally find favor in shared access to the child or children unless such timesharing orders would be detrimental to the child. You must be able to prove to the court for “best interest of the children.” Simply telling a judge will not be enough. Even in cases where domestic violence is prevalent, testimony and evidence must be presented to the courts in accordance with the Florida Family Law. In short, you may believe that you have plenty of reasons why a court would award you sole parental responsibility with limited or no timesharing to the other parent. Simply put, all of these reasons must be validated. Your statements alone and even police reports filed for domestic violence must be presented to the courts the right way.
Child Custody Attorneys, Tampa Bay
It takes a seasoned Tampa child custody attorney to present your case to a Judge in accordance with the law. Even if and when a Guardian ad Litem is introduced, which happens frequently in child custody cases, it is important to have an aggressive Tampa family law attorney to hold them to account and to do what is in the best interest of the children.
Florida Statutes Best Interest of Children
Florida Statues makes many references to the best interest of the children when making decisions about parental responsibility and timesharing. Chapter 61:13 states:
It is the public policy of this state that each minor child has frequent and continuing contact with both parents after the parents separate or the marriage of the parties is dissolved and to encourage parents to share the rights and responsibilities, and joys, of childrearing.
**NOTE: There is no presumption for or against the father or mother of the child or for or against any specific time-sharing schedule when creating or modifying the parenting plan of the child.
a. In ordering shared parental responsibility, the court may consider the expressed desires of the parents and may grant to one party the ultimate responsibility over specific aspects of the child’s welfare or may divide those responsibilities between the parties based on the best interests of the child. Areas of responsibility may include education, health care, and any other responsibilities that the court finds unique to a particular family.
b.The court shall order sole parental responsibility for a minor child to one parent, with or without time-sharing with the other parent if it is in the best interests of the minor child.
If you believe your children are at risk of being harmed by physical or emotional abuse such as in a case where child abuse or domestic violence is prevalent, consulting with Attorney Nilo J Sanchez for direction and assistance is a first step to resolve. Remember that you MUST prove to the courts that sole ‘physical” time-share and parental responsibility is in the best interest of the children. Having a full understanding of Florida Family Law as well as the Rules of Procedure as it applies to time-share disputes in Florida is crucial and Attorney Sanchez has 25 years of experience representing clients in time-share cases.
Presumption of Unfitness or Detriment, Timesharing and Custody Florida
Alternatively to the situations covered above, there are also custody cases where accusations or convictions of neglect, abuse or other unfitness are made resulting in parents losing access to their children. Hiring a seasoned Tampa Bay child custody attorney who can assess your case and determine what steps you can take in either situation is crucial to protecting your rights and the best interest of your children. If you’ve been involved in domestic violence, even if there has been no conviction, it is possible that you could lose access to timesharing in addition to being awarded any parental responsibility.
Florida Statutes on Domestic Violence, Child Abuse and Custody
The court shall order that the parental responsibility for a minor child be shared by both parents unless the court finds that shared parental responsibility would be detrimental to the child. Evidence that a parent has been convicted of a misdemeanor of the first degree or higher involving domestic violence, as defined in s. 741.28 and chapter 775, or meets the criteria of s. 39.806(1)(d), creates a rebuttable presumption of detriment to the child. If the presumption is not rebutted after the convicted parent is advised by the court that the presumption exists, shared parental responsibility, including time-sharing with the child, and decisions made regarding the child, may not be granted to the convicted parent. However, the convicted parent is not relieved of any obligation to provide financial support. If the court determines that shared parental responsibility would be detrimental to the child, it may order sole parental responsibility and make such arrangements for time-sharing as specified in the parenting plan as will best protect the child or abused spouse from further harm. Whether or not there is a conviction of any offense of domestic violence or child abuse or the existence of an injunction for protection against domestic violence, the court shall consider evidence of domestic violence or child abuse as evidence of detriment to the child.
If you are concerned about losing time-share with your children due to allegations of abuse, neglect or abandonment, domestic violence convictions or other allegations of unfitness DO NOT ASSUME that the courts will be on your side. You must be able to show that losing time-share of your child is not in their best interest while abiding by Florida Rules of Procedure and the Florida Statutes as it applies to these matters.
Hiring an Experienced Tampa Bay Time-share/ Child Custody Attorney
Child custody battles can be emotionally draining, especially when the children are being harmed. When your child is suffering from emotional and/or physical abuse it can feel unbearable. Finding solutions and support can help you to get resolve and healing. This resolve very much depends on hiring the best Tampa Child Custody Attorney for your situation. We understand that loving parents want to protect their children but, they often feel that the courts are not on their side. Frequently they feel this way because they simply did not have the adequate representation in their child custody case that would ensure them of the very best possible outcome through negotiations or litigation.
Learn More About How Our Tampa Family Law Firm Can Help You to Find Resolve for You & Your Children. Call 813-879-4600 Today for an Affordable Consultation