Child Custody FAQs
Florida parents often have questions about their legal rights when they are trying to work out a time sharing schedule or another aspect of a parenting plan. Miami child custody lawyer Sandy T. Fox can provide you with compassionate and responsive legal guidance on Florida family law. He is a Florida Bar Board Certified specialist in Marital & Family Law. Below are answers to some questions that parents often ask.
Judges focus on the best interests of the child in developing parenting plans (the Florida term for custody agreements or orders). Florida law provides judges with factors that they need to consider when evaluating a child’s best interests. The court must consider whether the child will have a safe place to live and adequate nutrition and clothing. The court will consider whether the child will receive adequate supervision and emotional support. The court can also examine the history of each parent’s conduct in the home, including whether either parent has abused drugs or alcohol, has abused the child, or has a history of domestic violence. These are just some examples of the factors that a judge can consider.
Yes, the parents can set up a parenting plan that gives each parent an opportunity to spend time with the child and play a role in the child’s upbringing. If the parties choose to file a simplified dissolution, the court will honor the wishes of the parties. This means that if the parents have devised a parenting plan on which they agree, the court will not impose something different. To make a parenting plan work, the parents must exercise clear communication and teamwork. For example, the parents might decide to alternate weekends spent with the child, split days during the week, or have a child spend the school year with one parent while spending holidays and summer vacations with the other parent.
A Florida father can get rights to his child unless he is considered an unfit parent. The gender of the parent is not a factor in developing a parenting plan or a time sharing arrangement. However, an unmarried father does not have any legal rights to his child until he establishes paternity. Paternity can be established if the mother and the father file a voluntary paternity petition to provide the father with legal rights regarding the child. If the father is seeking paternity without the mother’s consent, the father can file a petition with the court, which will then order genetic testing to determine paternity. If a man is married to the mother of the child at the time of birth, the law will presume that he is the father for legal purposes. No additional action is needed to establish paternity.
Florida Statutes Section 751.05 establishes the guidelines that a court must follow to determine whether a parent is unfit. If a parent is deemed unfit, he or she may lose rights to his or her child either temporarily or permanently. There are many grounds for deeming a parent unfit under the statute. In many cases, abuse, neglect, or abandonment supports a determination that a parent is unfit. If a parent makes false accusations against the child’s other parent, the court can take those actions into consideration. The court can also deem a parent unfit if evidence shows that he or she is attempting to turn the child against the other parent. Evidence of an unsafe or unsanitary home may also lead a court to enter an order deeming a parent unfit.
Sandy T. Fox has helped many parents throughout South Florida understand their rights and options regarding time sharing schedules and other aspects of parenting plans. He understands that your relationship with your child is one of the most important parts of your life. Sandy T. Fox offers a free consultation to discuss your situation and how he may be able to assist you. To schedule your appointment, contact our office at 1-800-596-0579 or online.