Divorce on its own is hard enough, but when you add children into the mix, divorce proceedings can get far more stressful, emotional, and complicated.
We all want to do what’s best for our children. Sometimes, however, what one parent thinks is best isn’t what the Florida courts will think is best.
In our state, when it comes to child custody – now referred to as “time sharing” – the courts have the stated goal of acting in the best interest of the child. Generally speaking, that means allowing children to spend time with both of their parents. The exception to this rule, though, is if spending time with one parent is deemed to be detrimental or unsafe.
If your ex tries to get sole custody of your child, he or she will have to show that spending time with you will not be healthy for your child.
Fighting Back against an Attempt to Gain Sole Custody
Here are four ways you can fight this legal battle:
Demonstrate that you will provide a safe environment for your child. If your ex can show that living or spending time with you would be harmful to your kid, then a court could potentially grant them sole custody. In order to avoid that, you will need to show the court that your child will be safe when he or she is with you.
Start by addressing any previous issues about domestic violence, substance abuse, or your criminal history – if there are any – and provide evidence that you have taken care of or are taking care of those issues. Also, make sure your home is safe, and that you are both physically and mentally healthy.
Show that you will meet your child’s needs. As mentioned before, the courts want to do what’s best for your kid, so you will need to show them you will have no issues meeting your child’s developmental and emotional needs.
Get involved and participate in your child’s life. Know your child’s interests, friends, daily routine, and extracurricular activities. Establish that your child’s life will be stable, with little disruption, if you had joint time-sharing responsibilities. Create a parenting plan that both you and your ex will follow.
Maintain good communication with your ex. Regardless of why you’re getting a divorce, if you have a child or children with your ex, you will need to be able to communicate with each other on a regular basis. This communication should be positive and foster your child’s relationship with both you and your ex.
On top of that, you will also need to show that the two of you can stick to the time-sharing schedule and deal with reasonable changes together instead of constantly involving the court. Even if you’re not having an amicable divorce, it’s important to show that when it comes to your child you will put your differences aside and provide a united front.
Be morally and ethically fit. If your ex wants sole custody, he or she will look for any reason, no matter how small, to show that you are morally or ethically unfit to have joint custody. Don’t give your ex any opportunity to gather evidence that would prove this is the case. If you follow the law and do what’s right for you and your kid, you shouldn’t have to worry about losing custody.
Whatever You Do, Don’t Try to Go It Alone
Child custody can be a contentious situation. If you’re worried your ex is going to seek sole custody of your child, reach out to an experienced Florida family attorney. He or she will be able to give you the answers you need to understand the best way to keep spending time with your kids and stay a big part of their lives.