It is normal for each parent to believe that they are the best parent and that they should have primary and legal custody of their child after a divorce or separation. The laws in Florida require the court to make a decision based on what is in the child’s best interests when granting custody and visitation rights. This may sound easy, but it is actually a very difficult decision to make. Men who want their father’s custody rights in Florida should be prepared for an emotional, expensive and harrowing process in Florida courts. This process can be emotionally painful for the children as well and speaking with an experienced family law attorney can help mitigate the pain and emotional aspects of a custody battle.
Florida’s Best Interests of the Child Standard for Father’s Rights
Before a Florida court will grant a father child custody rights, the court has to consider a number of factors. These factors are some of what makes up the “best interests of the child” standard.” The first factor is the mental and the physical health of the father. The father has to be physically and mentally able to support their child for them to get custody or significant visitation rights. The court also has to consider the moral fitness of the father before giving them any custody or visitation rights. The judge will not give a dad custody if there is evidence of substance abuse in their home. Florida courts will also not grant custody to the father if their moral conduct could affect the ethical development of the child.
The second factor that the court considers before granting a father custody rights in Florida is their demonstrated capacity as well as their disposition to encourage an on-going relationship with their child. The father must also be willing to honor the time-sharing plan, and to be sensible when changes need to be made. When a father has an established history of spending quality time with his child in a well-documented manner, his chances of winning a custody battle increase substantially.
The father must show that he is willing to put the needs of his child before his own. They should show their willingness to be involved in the child’s school activities as well as their extra-curricular activities. They should be ready to protect their child from everything, including the divorce and custody process. This is done by not sharing any documents or electronic media that are related to the custody or divorce case with the child. The father should refrain from speaking negatively about the other parent with their child.
Before granting Florida father’s child custody rights, the court looks at any evidence of domestic abuse, child abuse, child neglect, child abandonment or sexual abuse. If the court uses this evidence to grant or deny child custody, it must state in writing that the evidence was considered in the child’s best interest.
Florida courts, in evaluating what is in the child’s best interests, also consider the amount of time that the child has spent in a stable environment that is satisfactory and desirable before they grant any custody rights whatsoever. It is important for the court to maintain continuity for the child. Judges prefer a custody arrangement that does not cause any unnecessary disruptions in the child’s life.
Getting Father’s Rights Means Cooperative Parenting in Most Instances
A man who wants his father’s custody rights in Florida must show that he is willing to cooperate with the other parent on issues that relate to their child. They must also be willing to adopt a united front on all issues that have to do with the child. The father must also prove to the court that they are willing to keep the other parent informed on all the important activities that happen while the child is in their care.
In some rare instances, when a child reaches the age of 16 years of age, the court may ask the child to state which reasonable custody arrangement they prefer – whether they want to live with their mother or their father. However, this will only happen if the court believes that the child has enough intelligence, experience and understanding to choose their preferred custody arrangement. And even so, if the judge believes that it is not in the child’s best interest to live with one of the parents, the child’s decision will mean nothing.
Many times, because of the history or allegations of abuse, Florida courts may order visitation with a father be “supervised” for a period of time. In such situations, an independent evaluator will be ordered and a report will be filed so as to help the court to determine the child’s custody. The court can use any evidence that is submitted during the custody hearing in order to determine which custody arrangement will serve the child’s best interests. By having the visitation period supervised by an evaluator, the evaluator can let the judge know what they saw as far as interaction between parent and child are concerned.
What Requirements Are There To Get Father’s Rights in Florida?
Men who want to get the custody rights they deserve should be ready to discuss their situation with an experienced Florida family law attorney. This is because there is no clear-cut method that is used to determine whether a custody ruling will favor the father or the mother. The only way to guarantee that the man can fight for their rights is if they are represented by a good attorney skilled in litigating for father’s rights in Florida courts.
Florida laws require both parents to attend a parenting class before they get a divorce. A man who wants to get his custody rights in Florida must be willing to take part in this class. This class will help him understand his changing role in the child’s life after the divorce. Attending parenting class on time and without being told to do so by a judge carries a little weight in the eyes of the court as it shows that you are engaged and willing to do what needs to be done for the betterment of your children.
The parenting class helps fathers to realize the short term and long term changes in their child’s life. The father has to understand that they will deal with their ex-spouse for a long time on matters dealing with their children. Parenting class will teach a father why when testifying in court, it is important for the father to say “our children” and not “my children” so that the court can appreciate that they understand this distinction and that they are ready to involve the other parent in the child’s life. This shows the court growth, maturity, and an understanding of what is best for their child.
Getting a Modification of Custody with Experienced Florida Lawyers
A father can also seek a modification of their Florida child custody parenting arrangement. The burden of proof in this case will rest with the father, as they are the ones requesting a change from the current parenting plan. The father will have to prove that there has been a “substantial change in the circumstances” since the last custody order was entered by the judge. This can be a very detailed case, and the father should contact a Florida family law attorney to help them with the court proceedings. The Florida father’s rights attorney can assess the current time-sharing and custody arrangement and determine if a modification is necessary or even possible given their current situation. The attorney will then help to prepare the custody case while seeking a modification of visitation and child custody rights. Getting the right Florida child custody help and advice is as simple as filling out the form on this page or picking up the phone and giving us a call. Our team of Florida Father’s Rights lawyers will fight to get you the custody rights you deserve!
Additional Florida Information