Sharing a child with a former partner can be one of the most difficult endeavors after separation. Although, many ideally would never have to share their child, this is unrealistic expectation, especially in the state of Florida. Florida public policy requires a child to maintain frequent and continuing contact with each parent after the dissolution of a relationship or marriage. The parents are encouraged in every aspect to work together to equally share in the joys, rights and responsibility of child rearing. 61.13 However, in a minority of cases a parent may argue that there should be limitations on the opposite parent’s rights to the child. Unfortunately, not all parents are truly capable of providing for their children. Some parents place children in dangerous situations making it inappropriate for them to have any contact at all. In cases such as this, the other parent can, and needs, to take action to restrict or eliminate any contact that child has with the children. In these cases, it is important to understand the statutes and obtain the assistance of a knowledgeable Orlando Child Custody Attorney to argue for the proper placement and protection of you and your child.
With the state presumption of shared parental responsibility in Florida, it is increasingly difficult to limit one parent’s rights in regards to their own child. In Florida, the courts are required to find parental responsibility be shared between the parties, unless there is evidence that such continued contact would be detrimental to the child. Courts have found a parent’s criminal history, alcohol or drug abuse, child neglect or abuse and domestic violence all to be substantial circumstances that signal a possible danger to the child that may limit a parent’s contact. Beyond the detriment factor, the courts are required to “determine all matters relating to parenting and time sharing of each minor child of the parties in accordance with the best interest of the child” 61.13 This standard also includes factors that account for a parent’s detrimental effect on a child. For instance, the court will consider: “the moral fitness of the parents, the mental and physical health of the parents, evidence of domestic violence, sexual violence, child abuse, child abandonment, or child neglect, regardless of whether a prior or pending action relating to those issues has been brought, the demonstrated capacity and disposition of each parent to maintain an environment for the child which is free from substance abuse, evidence that either parent has knowingly provided false information to the court regarding any prior or pending action regarding domestic violence, sexual violence, child abuse, child abandonment, or child neglect.” 61.13. These issues must be brought forward to the judge in your initial parenting plan hearing. It is important to protect your child at the earliest sign of danger, and notifying your Orlando Child Custody Attorney immediately will allow them to take action to place your child in a safe environment.
However, if you have an existing parenting plan, you must petition the court for this modification to limit contact with the parent. You must make specific allegations in this petition that display how a parent’s actions are in fact detrimental to the child. This must be done in a similar fashion as the initial child custody petition. However, it is important not to take matters into your own hands. If you have an existing parenting plan and wish to limit the contact between your partner and the child you must take legal action. Failure to abide by an existing parenting plan without proper court order could result in numerous penalties. After discovering of improperly denied parenting time with the child, the court can award extra time sharing to compensate for the missed time, order the offending parent to pay court costs and attorney’s fees, order the offending party to attend a parenting course or community service, the offending party may be found in contempt of court and the court may even modify the existing parenting plan. Contact your Orlando Child Custody Attorney today if you have fears regarding your child’s contact with your former partner. They will be able to assist you in formulating a new parenting plan and presenting proper evidence to the court to substantiate such claims.
Our Orlando Child Custody Attorneys have extensive experience handling complex child custody cases, even those where one parent is causing harm to a child. Contact our offices today and let our expert Orlando Child Custody Attorneys assist you in your unique case and immediately begin the process to protect your child.
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