How to Pursue Full Custody of Your Children in Florida

How to Pursue Full Custody of Your Children in Florida

Posted By R. Gregory Colvin LLC || 10-Aug-2016

Child custody can be an especially contentious issue in Florida divorces and separations. In many cases, parents may threaten to pursue sole custody of their children in order to gain the upper hand in negotiations. But what exactly is “sole” or “full” custody, and is it even possible in Florida?

In fact, the concept of “custody” is not even included in Florida statutes. Instead, both parents have “time-sharing” with their children, also known as “parenting time.” Parenting time encompasses both a parent’s right to develop a relationship with their child and to ensure their welfare. What most parents desire when they choose to pursue sole custody is to have exclusive physical control of the child and the ability to make important decisions that affect the child’s wellbeing without the other parent’s permission. Achieving this, however, is much easier said than done.

Family courts in the state of Florida will almost never award a complete “cutoff” of a parent’s right to see their child, spend time with them, or make important decisions on their behalf. In general, Florida courts operate under the assumption that a child requires the presence of both parents in their life in order to grow in a healthy and productive manner, and will oppose any efforts to restrict a parent’s rights.

Sole legal or physical custody is usually reserved for extreme cases involving abuse or neglect by one parent. In these types of scenarios, the courts may restrict the offending parent’s access to the child by:

  • Denying visitation until further notice
  • Allowing only supervised visitation
  • Denying overnight visitation
  • Implementing other measures to protect the child

In all custody-related cases, the court’s decisions will be based on what it believes to be the best interests of the child, or what will foster the child’s healthy development and happiness.

Is There Any Way to Approximate Sole Custody in Florida?

While true sole custody is highly unlikely, there are certain solutions that one or both parties can implement in order to mimic sole custody. As long as parents have valid, articulable reasons, they may negotiate a parenting time agreement that gives one parent substantially more custody rights than the other. While the courts may disregard this plan, they are likely to accept it if it does not stray too far from court guiding principles. A “poison pill,” or negative provision can be built into the arrangement to penalize the parent with less custody in the event that they should attempt to modify the plan at a later date.

Likewise, dependency court cases involving Child Protective Services (CPS) can result in one parent receiving full custody. The decision to pursue a dependency case must be considered very carefully, however, as these cases can move very quickly and even require the parent who receives full custody to cooperate with CPS.

Orlando Family Law Attorney – Call (407) 603-3460

If you are involved in a child custody battle or any other family law case that requires powerful legal attention, contact R. Gregory Colvin, LLC today. With more than 25 years of experience, our Orlando family lawyers can provide the honest and effective counsel you need.

Discuss your legal options with us in detail during a free initial consultation.

Why Hire Our Orlando
Family Law Attorney?

  • (+) 25+ years of trusted legal service
  • (+) Trial-tested skill to represent you in court if necessary
  • (+) Available to meet with you on weekends
  • (+) Large firm experience at a small firm price
  • (+) Accessible 24/7 by phone to answer your questions

Contact Us Today

Send My Information