sad children with parents arguingThis is the next post in my series on how Florida’s joint custody laws affect parents in Melbourne and other portions of the state. My last article explained that Florida law presumes that parents should share joint custody of their children. The Courts will vary from this presumption, however, if it is shown that it is in the best interest of the child for one parent to have primary custody. This article will expand upon that discussion by discussing the factors and evidence the Court will consider when making such a determination. If you or a family member are in need of assistance then contact my office today to speak with a lawyer.

Florida Courts will look to objective evidence when making child custody determinations

A Florida Court will vary from the presumption of joint custody when it is in the best interests of the child to do so. As we explained in our last article, however, the Court will largely be concerned with objective evidence when determining what is best for a youth. This means that a Court will often disregard assertions that are not supported by proof. This is, in part, due to the fact that individuals will often exaggerate, or even fabricate, claims about their ex in an effort to gain custody. Common examples of such claims can include accusations of alcoholism, drug abuse, domestic violence, etc.

Consider the following example. Jane claims that she has been the regular victim of domestic violence while in a relationship with Joe, the father of the child. Jane, however, has never called the police and reported such violence. Moreover, Jane lacks documentary evidence of injuries (i.e. photos of bruises). This, in itself, will likely weigh against Jane’s claims. Also, if Joe is able to show evidence that the claims are false (such evidence may include text messages or other records which contradict the claims), then the Court may quickly disregard the accusations. If, however, Jane is able to present evidence of such violence then the Court would be much more likely to rule in Jane’s favor. While it must be remembered that the Court’s ruling will always depend on the specifics of the matter, it should be understood that Judge’s often show little regard for unsupported assertions.

The facts of the case do not need to be extreme for a Melbourne parent to gain primary custody

Parents sometimes think that a Court will only award primary custody in extreme circumstances, such as matters involving drug use or violence. The fact of the matter, however, is that the Court does not need extreme facts to award a parent primary custody. If, for example, the father works nights during the week and the child goes to school during the day, then the father would be unavailable to take care of the child five nights per week. Under this scenario, the Court would often award custody to the mother with the father receiving regular visitation. There are many other examples of how non-egregious facts can lead to a parent gaining primary custody.

If you are involved in a family law dispute then contact my office today to speak with a Melbourne child custody lawyer. My firm will give you objective advice as to how the Court is likely to rule in your case and we will protect your rights as the case moves forward. Contact us online or by telephone today.  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.