The Florida court system is of the opinion that every child should maintain a relationship with both parents regardless of their parents’ relationship status. This is because it is easier and more beneficial to raise a child if there is a shared parental responsibility. But what happens when there’s a history of domestic violence?
Florida Child Custody Laws
Child custody laws govern how parties will split parenting time if they are no longer together, and they help determine child support payments. Although the court generally likes to ensure that the parent and child maintain their relationship, if one parent has a history of domestic violence, the court may limit his/her visitation rights.
When determining child custody situations, the judge considers each parent’s:
- relationship with the child;
- current parental responsibilities;
- ability to parent the child;
- living situation;
- moral character;
- physical and mental health;
- knowledge of the child’s life (activities, favorite things to do, names of friends, teachers, medical providers, etc.);
- willingness to work with the other on important parenting issues;
- ability to provide discipline and a consistent daily routine;
- history with drugs or alcohol;
- history of domestic violence, abuse, or neglect; and
- history of falsifying any evidence of domestic violence, abuse, or neglect.
Impact of Domestic Violence on Custody Determinations
If either party has been convicted of domestic violence, the court could assume that allowing that parent to share custody of the child would have a detrimental effect on the child’s best interests. This could lead to the court determining that the parent is unfit to share custody of their child. For this reason, it’s up to the parent with the history of domestic violence to prove they are a fit parent.
Before a judge will grant any contact between the convicted parent and the child, they must be convinced that the child’s safety, well-being, and health are not in danger. If the judge determines it would be in the child’s best interests to maintain contact with the convicted parent, they will create a visitation arrangement that protects the child or abused parent from harm.
Protecting Your Child’s Best Interests
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