MIAMI, FL – July 26, 2017 – Can you get sole custody of your child in Florida? The short answer is “yes” but the more realistic answer is: probably not. Any time custody is at stake – regardless of what type of custody it is – the family court is going to make a decision that is in the best interest of the child. And, unless one parent is egregiously incompetent, chances are both parents will get some sort of time with the child. Under normal circumstances, the court believes that it is in a child’s best interest to spend time and be influenced by both parents – so, you can imagine its stance against sole custody. In fact, sole custody is so frowned upon that – even though it is a phrase we use in everyday conversation – it is a term that has not been used in Florida courts since 2011.
While sole custody is probably not a realistic expectation, it absolutely can occur if a parent is unstable, on drugs, or dangerous; but you will still need strong and thorough documentation to prove your case in court. Majority time-sharing – where one parent assumes the responsibility and parenting decisions for the child – is a more realistic expectation, but winning and being granted time-sharing (no matter which type) will usually come by following a certain set of steps.
In order to win your desired amount of time-sharing in family court, there are a few key things you can do. First and foremost, read and familiarize yourself with the Florida Statute Regarding Child Custody. It is not a tremendously long read, and being familiar with terminology and statutes will serve you well when meeting your family law attorney and in actual family law court. Second, take detailed notes and share them with your attorney. The whole process of a time-sharing “custody” battle can be stressful and in the heat-of-the-moment it is likely to become easy to forget or misremember important details.
What you do by yourself – outside of being with your attorney – is also important. You need to be mindful of what is going on and try your best to stay calm while litigation is in progress. This means you want to keep the litigation separate from interactions with the child, when you are outside of the courtroom. The less you say in person, or put on social media – regarding the case – the better! I see so many people take to social media platforms – like Facebook – to air out their frustrations; it might feel good in the moment, but trust me when I tell you, your social media postings can become part of the custody battle, and when they do, it is never a good thing.
Time and time again parents get so caught up in trying to get the majority of the custody that they make it about the battle, instead of the child. While the circumstances at hand, and great legal representation is usually going to dictate how much time-sharing you get, it is important to remember that you need to do what is in the best interest of the child. If you have any questions regarding custody/time-sharing in Florida, please contact my offices today at 305-514-0500.