As a father who is undergoing a divorce from your child’s mother, one of your main concerns may be how your relationship will be affected. With this in mind, you must do everything in your power to fight for a fair and reasonable child custody settlement agreement. Read on to discover what fathers’ rights are and how a seasoned Pasco County, Florida child custody lawyer at Wendy Doyle-Palumbo, Esq. can best represent you.
How is child custody determined in the state of Florida?
The Florida family court will place many factors into consideration when making their child custody judgment. Just some of the circumstances they will review for physical custody, legal custody, and visitation decisions include the following:
- Both parents’ willingness for custody.
- Both parents’ yearly net income, earning capacities, and financial status.
- Both parents’ ability to offer a safe, stable environment for the child.
- Both parents’ geographical locations and their proximity to one another.
- Both parents’ history of physical, verbal, and sexual abuse.
- Both parents’ history of substance abuse and incarceration.
- Both parents’ history of kidnapping or abducting the child.
- Both parents’ age, physical conditions, and mental conditions.
- The child’s age.
- The child’s special needs, medical needs, educational needs, etc.
- The child’s preference, if of sufficient age.
What are fathers’ rights in the state of Florida?
A biological father should not be refused time-sharing with their child. At the very least, the state of Florida should grant a biological father visitation rights. This is so long as they are determined to be “parentally fit.” The only circumstances in which you would be deemed parentally unfit are as follows:
- You have a history of exposing your child to domestic abuse.
- You have a history of incarceration.
- You have a history of substance abuse.
- You are mentally impaired.
The state of Florida finds that it is usually in the child’s best interest to enjoy time-sharing with both parents, perhaps even with 50/50 time-sharing. However, in highly-contested child custody proceedings, it may be difficult to settle primary residency and overall time-sharing schedules, and 50/50 time-sharing may not be possible. In circumstances such as these, the Florida family courts tend to prefer to award the mother with primary custody. This is regardless of the fact that they are supposed to practice “gender-blind” judgments.
With all that being said, we understand just how precious and important a father-child relationship can be. And so, if you need to fight for your rights as a father, our team is ready and willing to stand right by your side. Contact a competent Pasco County, Florida family lawyer today. We look forward to hearing from you.