When Do Florida Courts Decide Against Sharing Custodial Parental Responsibilities?
Under normal circumstances, there’s no question about the value of having both parents contribute to a child’s life, even when those parents are not married. In Florida, the shared responsibility for a child is always supported by the courts, unless there is a good reason to mandate something different. In all cases, the court must weigh the wellbeing of the child in question as determinations related to parental time-sharing are made.
Situations that May be Detrimental to a Child
Time sharing arrangements may be impacted by a number of circumstances, resulting in one parent having limited or supervised time with a child, or, in some cases, no contact with a child at all. What situations might lead to these kinds of narrow arrangements?
- Domestic Violence: When one parent has been convicted of a First Degree Misdemeanor related to domestic violence, the court may determine that the home of that parent is unsafe for a minor child;
- False Accusations by One Parent: If a parent wrongly accuses the other parent of, say, sexual abuse, and those accusations turn out to be false, the accusing parent could be in serious trouble, with one consequence being the loss of custody;
- Parental Alienation: Angry parents have been known to attempt to influence a child’s feelings toward their other parent. This can be done with deprecating remarks, by making visitation more strained and difficult, and by otherwise characterizing a child’s parent in an unfavorable way. All of this is really just a cruel manipulation, which causes a child to suffer more than anyone. Courts generally do not look favorably on this type of behavior. While it initially may result in warnings and sanctions, it could ultimately lead to the loss of custody.
- Failing to Adhere to the Parenting Plan: If one parent does not allow the other to enjoy time with a child as outlined in a court-sanctioned time-sharing plan, it could lead to a variety of sanctions, including having to pay court costs for the parent who has been denied time, doing community service, providing extra time to make up for lost time, and, ultimately, revising the time-sharing plan altogether if it is in the child’s best interest.
- Unfit Parenting: Sometimes parents may suffer from conditions that make a home unsafe for a child. Problems with alcohol or drugs, for example, may interfere with proper parenting. Likewise, mental health issues sometimes impede decision making and make proper parenting nearly impossible. When these or other issues result in a child’s neglect or abuse, or when a child is abandoned, the court will be forced to rely on the remaining parent to provide care for a child.
- Sanitation Issues: Children deserve to live in clean and safe environments. When a parent cannot or will not address health hazards such as vermin, plumbing issues, hoarding, or other problems that could impact a child’s health, it could result in a loss of custody.
The Legal Battle
If you are concerned about current or potential custody issues involving your minor children, having an aggressive and determined legal team on your side could make the difference in getting the outcomes you’re looking for. At WiseLieberman, we are well versed with issues related to custody and time-sharing and will advocate for your goals. Contact our Boca Raton child custody attorneys today for a confidential consultation.