Is Sole Custody Possible in a Family Law Case?

Are you in the middle of a custody battle with your spouse or former spouse? Perhaps you are wondering if you can be awarded sole custody of your minor child or children. In recent years, the Florida statutes began referring to child custody as “timesharing” or contact. The legislature felt like the term custody or visitation was more applicable to hospital or jail visits.

Often times, Family Law Clients come to our firm and ask about sole custody. Florida utilizes the following terms: sole parental responsibility and shared parental responsibility. You may be wondering what each of these terms mean. Sole parental responsibility relates to decision making for the minor child or children. A Client who is awarded sole parental responsibility makes all the major decisions affecting the welfare of the minor children.

Cases with shared parental responsibility allow each parent equal decision making regarding all the major choices impacting the welfare of the minor children. Examples include, but are not limited to education, medical, religion, extracurricular activities, etc.

When Family Law Clients consider custody (timesharing), they are mostly concerned about where the minor child or children will live. Visitation (contact) relates to living arrangements. There are certain cases where a Client may be determined to have his or her children live with him or her exclusively, and not with the other parent. However, this outcome is highly unlikely. Special circumstances where the other parent has a criminal record, felony convictions, history of alcohol/drug abuse, etc. or is a registered sex offender that would show detriment to the minor children.

One possible solution that would allow both parents to be involved in the lives of the children is known as supervised timesharing. Family Ties is a facility in Orange County that allow deputies to oversee timesharing on weekends. Doing so, ensures that the parent who has a limited amount of supervised timesharing is observed and watched very carefully while he or she is interacting with the minor children. There are also less restrictive forms of supervised timesharing.

Ultimately, it is very difficult to be awarded sole custody in Florida. Keep in mind, there are other options, even in a situation where timesharing is awarded to the other parent. Many people believe that 50/50 timesharing is presumed in the Florida Statutes. However, Florida Statue 61.13 sub factors A through T cover 20 factors that the court must consider in every timesharing (custody) case. Thus, 50/50 timesharing is not automatically awarded.

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Do you have questions regarding timesharing in your Family Law case? Our experienced Family Law Attorneys are here for you. To set up a consultation, call our office at (407) 872-3161.

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