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The Difficulty in Obtaining Sole Custody in Florida

Under Florida law, child custody is based upon the “best interest of the child” and includes several factors that look into his or her health, education and emotional well-being. Prior or during most divorces the soon-to-be ex-spouses create a parenting plan, which includes time sharing with the child or children.

If you or someone you know is thinking of or going through divorce and has questions about child custody, contact a seasoned Orlando child custody attorney right away to learn about your rights and responsibilities under Florida law.

Sole Custody

Generally, the primary goal of the court is to reach a state of shared responsibility between the parents. That being said, in the event that shared custody could be detrimental to the child or children a judge may award one parent sole custody.

Also known as “sole parental responsibility”, sole custody involves one parent being given all the duties and obligations of caring for and making decisions on behalf of the child. This result is rare, however, courts have been known to restrict visitations to ensure the physical or emotional safety of a child. Some reasons a family court judge may award sole custody include:

  • Clear neglect – the spouse seeking sole custody bears the burden of showing the other parent failed to provide the child or children with the basic necessities such as food, water, medical care or proper supervision while under his or her care.
  • Domestic violence – the most common reason sole custody is awarded by a court, if the other spouse has a history – and preferably a record – of domestic violence and or has abused the child or children, courts will deem this a clear threat to the child or children’s well-being.
  • Mental illness – sometimes mental illnesses, particularly those that are a threat to the safety of the minor(s), may force a family court judge to award sole custody to the other parent.
  • Abuse of drugs or alcohol – should one parent have a history of drug or alcohol abuse, it is possible the other parent may be awarded sole custody if he or she can prove the addiction prohibits the other parent is unable to take care of the child/children or make decisions on their behalf. If the spouse has successfully gone through rehab and there is no longer evidence of drug/alcohol abuse, this will be much more difficult to prove.

Orlando Child Custody Attorney

Attorney Steve W. Marsee can assist feuding spouses in reaching a child custody agreements that benefit the best interest of the children and are also reasonable for all. With decades of experience servicing the families of greater Orlando and throughout the state of Florida, the legal professionals at Steve W. Marsee, P.A. can help guide you through this process. Call 407-521-7171 today for your initial case evaluation.

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