For many people, when they think of child custody issues, they only think of a custody order that is determined during a divorce and by which both parents must adhere post-marriage. The truth is that there are far more situations in which child custody could become a significant issue, and they each come with their own particular complexities. From individuals claiming paternity of a child over which they have no custody to grandparents seeking visitation or custody rights, there are many circumstances that may require family law.
You are probably aware that there are differences between federal laws and state laws, and when it comes to most family law matters, state laws tend to have a much bigger impact than federal laws. In most issues, including child custody, the state laws have a great deal more to do with how the courts will address certain matters. As a result, if you are going through a divorce in Florida, or if you feel that you might soon go through a divorce in Florida, it behooves you to learn what you can about family law in Florida.
The more cynical Florida residents may assume that when the state takes custody of a child away from the child's parents, it is well deserved. Certainly there are some stories about parents who abuse or neglect their children, or who live in deplorable conditions that genuinely endanger the child's health, and there is reason to be skeptical about such people's parenting abilities. However, to assume that the state department always gets it right is a gross overestimation of how diverse circumstances can be.
Marriage is a wonderful thing that brings happiness to many people, but unfortunately not all marriages have a happy ending. For one reason or another, a once happy couple may begin to drift apart and realize that they are no longer right for each other. While attempting to work out your differences is certainly an option, for some people, divorcing and finding love somewhere else is the only way to find happiness. However, if a couple has children together, divorce proceedings can be complicated.
Courts consider many different factors when determining the custody of a child, and it may surprise you to learn just what types of behavior can affect your chances at remaining involved in your child's life. If it can be proven that you were neglectful of your child or even that you did not actively participate in their lives as much as you could have, then you may not get as much parenting time as you deserve. You may not get any parenting time at all.
Perhaps the most important part of any child custody agreement is simply sticking to the agreement and avoiding taking the law into your own hands. It may not seem like a serious issue to keep a child longer than scheduled to spend some extra time with your son or daughter, but the law takes these matters very seriously, and there are consequences for failing to obey the agreement.
Earlier in the year, Florida's Department of Children and Families discovered a family in Daytona Beach living in what the agency described as deplorable conditions. The family consisted of a couple and two young children, and it now seems that the family is on the run. Official reports claim that the couple have a history of refusing to cooperate with the agency, which is now seeking custody of the five and four-year-old children.
When most people hear the phrase child custody, they imagine divorced couples battling over who has primary custody of the child or how many visitation hours the non-custodial parent receives. While this is obviously the most common custody issue, it is not the only type of child custody issue. In some instances, state agencies determine that a parent or guardian is unfit to care for the child or that their care is not in the child's best interests.
Florida parents who are divorcing may be interested to learn that a recent study has shown that children who are in joint custody situations tend to be better adjusted than children who spend the majority of their time with one parent. The study appeared on April 27 in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health and was conducted by researchers in Sweden.
When there is a written court order granting responsibility, rights or custody of a child, simple things like parental relocation can quickly become legal issues in the state of Florida. Relocation is defined as the parent with primary rights to the child changing their main residence to another location more than 50 miles away for a period of at least 60 consecutive days.