Issues involving child custody in Florida can be complex and confusing. This is true for both parents and children.
As your divorce proceedings move forward, the entire process may seem overwhelming, and you may wonder if you will lose custody of your children. At Griffin Family Law, I am here to help clients with their divorce cases and ensure they get the best possible outcome for their situation.
I’m also dedicated to educating my clients and providing them with helpful information for their family law situations. Keep reading to learn more about how to avoid losing custody of your children during your Florida divorce.
Always Show Emotional Control
If you cannot control your emotions and get angry easily, you may be at a disadvantage during child custody proceedings. If you want joint or sole custody of your child or children, you must show self-control and good judgment. While this can be challenging during these proceedings, it’s important regarding child custody.
Avoid Being Considered “Unfit”
In the state of Florida, there are a few things that may make a parent be deemed unfit. According to Florida statutes, for a parent to be considered unfit, they must have abandoned, neglected, or abused their child. The parent will also be considered unfit if they have a long-standing or recent history of mental illness or drug abuse. While these conditions don’t make someone a bad parent, most courts aren’t willing to risk a child’s safety by placing them in the care of someone with potentially dangerous and erratic behaviors.
Avoid Testing Positive for Alcohol or Drugs
A common allegation that one parent makes against the other is the use of alcohol or drugs. All your actions will be watched and known if you are involved in a custody battle. In fact, judges often order parties to undergo random hair follicle tests and urine analysis.
These tests can be ordered at any time during the proceedings, and if you refuse the test or fail the test, then the judge will use this when determining the outcome of your custody proceedings. It’s best to avoid using alcohol and drugs during this time to help you avoid losing a custody battle.
Make Your Parental Responsibilities a Priority
In some child custody cases, the parent who is responsible for most of the child-rearing is already at an advantage. When you are going through a divorce and child custody is being considered, you need to ensure that you can prove to the court you are actively involved in your child’s life and raising.
Never Make False Accusations of Abuse
Abuse is one of the main reasons a parent will lose custody of their child or children in Florida. Because of this, the courts don’t take false accusations of abuse lightly. If you make a false abuse allegation, it can be hurtful to your ability to gain custody and access to your child. This is because all allegations are answered with a temporary order that keeps the accused party from being able to see their child.
If a parent pets their child through this and knows the allegations are untrue, then the courts will consider them mentally unfit to continue parenting their child. In this case, they will be revoked custody.
Stay Active in Your Child’s Routine
It’s important to know your child’s schedule and activities. Get to know their teachers and who their friends are. Make sure that you stay actively engaged in their routine. By doing this, you will be in a much better position regarding your custody case.
Avoid Committing Acts of Domestic Violence
If domestic violence is involved in a situation or if there is the belief that it may occur, then a judge may rule that joint custody isn’t in the best interest of the child or children involved. This means you must avoid going to your child’s school and arguing with their other parent.
You should also avoid leaving voicemails or sending text messages threatening the other person or saying anything that may be considered a threat. While this may sound basic, it’s something that happens all the time.
Avoid Leaving Any Harmful Evidence Behind
Today, technological evidence is used in many child custody cases, along with other family law matters. Some of this evidence may portray one parent in a bad light and cause issues if they are trying to receive custody.
An example of this would be parents negatively impacting their possibility of joint or sole custody due to negative text messages, emails, or photographs. If you are going through a divorce, keep in mind that sending messages to your ex-spouse could risk losing custody of your children.
Provide a Safe Home for Your Children
Many people don’t realize that where you live may impact how much custody you receive. For example, if you (or the other child’s parent) live in a neighborhood that has a high crime rate, if they live in a building that is regularly cited for safety and health hazards, or even a home that’s not up to code, then the court may determine it is in the child’s best interest to live with the other parent full time.
The only good news in this situation is that moving to a safer location would allow you to regain your custodial rights.
Show Good Judgment and Control
When it comes to parenting and protecting your rights to custody, you need to show that you are a good parent. This includes having an established pattern of setting rules right for your children’s ages and ensuring they know their boundaries. You should also ensure proper discipline when needed and when your children are in your care.
Don’t Alienate Your Child or Children Against the Other Parent
In a divorce, some parents may attempt to get their children to take their side and make a situation where their child or children are “against” the other parent. These situations tend to backfire and may even have serious consequences.
If the child’s other parent can produce evidence that shows you are trying to interfere with their relationship with your child or children, the judge may (and likely will) take your decision-making rights away. They may also only give you limited parenting time or, in some cases, supervised parenting time.
In Florida, if the court system discovers you are attempting to manipulate your children, they may take action against you. You can avoid this by making sure you do not try to alienate your child from their other parent.
Contact a Child Custody Attorney for Help with Your Case
If you are in a situation where you need help from a child custody attorney, you can get in touch with me at Griffin Family Law. I have been providing family law legal services in the area for many years and understand the stress and confusion that child custody cases can cause. Because of this, I am ready to provide my clients with the legal services they want and need and help them get the best possible outcome for their situation.
While cases of child custody can be difficult and emotional, I am here to help. I can review your case and situation and help you get the best possible outcome for your case. Contact us for a free consultation.