How to secure child custody rights

Parents who are involved in a Florida divorce proceeding have the right to argue for sole or partial custody of their children if they wish to do so. When a parent makes a request for custody, a judge will look at the ability of that parent to create a stable environment that furthers the best interest of the child. Once a ruling has been made, both parents are obligated to abide by that ruling unless all parties agree to change it.

In many cases, parents who leave their primary residence prior to a divorce may weaken their argument that they deserve primary or joint physical custody of the child. This is because forcing the children to live someplace other than their primary residence or to split time between two different residences could cause undue stress for the children.

Additionally, leaving home may send a signal to a judge that the parent who left is unable or unwilling to take care of the children on an ongoing basis. A myth that should be addressed is that courts will favor a mother over a father in a custody case. Although this may have been true in the past, this is no longer the case as mothers and fathers are now recognized to have the same ability to provide for their children.

A family law attorney may be able to help a client resolve a child custody dispute in a amicable manner or in a manner that upholds the best interest of the child. The attorney may be able to negotiate an overall comprehensive divorce settlement agreement that will incorporate both child custody and visitation issues.

Source: Findlaw, "Getting Custody FAQ", August 01, 2014

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