Parent responsibility: Factors that may limit custody rights

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Determining the best way to care for your children following a divorce can be one of the most challenging aspects of the proceedings, particularly if you and your former spouse disagree on the issue.

In Florida, the court generally favors that children have “constant and continued contact” with both parents after the dissolution of their marriage. Though the home of one parent may be deemed a child’s primary residence, in most instances, each spouse retains legal and physical custody of the child. However, depending on the circumstance of a case, the court may set certain restrictions regarding the access a spouse has to their child and the role they play in any major decision-making.

“The court shall order that the parental responsibility for a minor child be shared by both parents unless the court finds that shared parental responsibility would be detrimental to the child,” according to Statute 61. 13.

Evidence of the following factors, among others, may lead the court to impose such limitations:

  • A criminal conviction
  • Abandonment of a child
  • Any instance of domestic abuse, either against a partner or child
  • Limited or non-existent emotional bond between parent and child
  • Physical or emotional limitations that could impede a parent’s ability to care for a child
  • Preventing a child from seeing their other parent
  • Prior refusal to perform parental duties
  • Prolonged drug or alcohol abuse

Signs of these behaviors may result in limited residential time for the party involved and could mean they don’t legally have an equal say in child’s current and future care. However, if one spouse seeks to falsely accuse the other of such actions to obtain sole custody, the court may impose comparable restrictions on the accuser.

The decisions made during a divorce proceeding will have a substantial impact on your child’s future. Scott A. Ferris, Esq. is an attentive and determined Miami family lawyer who can help you develop and advocate for the best parenting plan for your child.