parents holding young childThis is the next post in my series on how Florida’s joint custody laws impact parents in Melbourne and other parts of the state. My last article provided an overview of topics which this series will be addressing. It also stressed the importance of speaking with an attorney as soon as possible if you or a family member are involved in a legal dispute. It is important that you speak with counsel, and follow the legal process, and that you not take matters into your own hands. The latter can often hurt one’s case. In this article I will be discussing the fact that our state presumes that parents should share joint custody of their children. If you or a family member are in need of assistance then contact my office today to speak with a lawyer.

Florida Courts will begin each case with the presumption that parents should share custody of the children

Florida law presumes that parents should share joint custody of their children. This means that the Court will begin each case with the belief that the parents should have a roughly fifty-fifty timeshare. The Court will deviate from this presumption, however, if it is shown that joint custody would not be in the best interest of the child. When determining what is in a child’s best interest, the Court will consider factors such as:

  • The wishes of the child (depending on their age and maturity level)
  • The needs of the child and the ability of each parent to meet those needs
  • The mental and physical health of each parent
  • The willingness of each parent to foster a relationship between the child and their counterpart
  • The historical relationship which each parent has enjoyed with the child
  • Whether there is a history of domestic violence
  • Etc.

When considering these factors, it is important to understand that the Court will focus on objective evidence which can be verified. Courts will often disregard generalized or unsupported claims that the parent is “bad.”

Application of the foregoing standards are best explained through an example. Suppose Jill asks for primary custody on the ground that Jack has a drinking problem. Jack denies this evidence. The evidence shows that Jack has never been arrested for a DUI or any other offense. Furthermore, his bank records do not show excessive spending at bars or restaurants and he has held the same job for over a decade. Based on such facts, the Court would likely disregard claims that Jack was an alcoholic. If, however, Jack had a recent DUI arrest and other evidence showed a pattern of problematic behavior, then the Court may grant Jill’s request. It must be remembered, however, that how the Court will rule in any given matter will always depend on the facts of the case.

Retain a Melbourne child custody lawyer for assistance

If you are involved in a custody dispute then it is important to retain an attorney to assist you. Counsel will understand what types of arguments the Court will, and will not, consider in a custody dispute. Also, counsel can utilize the discovery process to gain objective evidence which the Judge will consider at an eventual trial. I am a Melbourne child custody lawyer who practices in no other area besides family law. I understand that nothing is more important than one’s children and we will make your case a priority. Contact us online or by telephone to schedule an initial consultation. We also service clients in the Brevard County cities of Titusville, Cocoa, Palm Bay, Grant, Valkaria, and Rockledge, as well as in the Indian River County areas of Fellsmere, Sebastian, Vero Beach, Indian River Shores, and Orchid.