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How Can a Mother Get Sole Custody of a Child in Orlando?
During a divorce, many parents ask about custody. More specifically, many parents ask about “sole custody” or “sole parental responsibility.” While this is a common question, it is important for you to understand what sole custody means in Orlando, how Orlando courts determine custody arrangements, and how often sole custody happens in Orlando.
How is Custody Determined in Orlando?
The law in Florida, including Orlando, divides custody into two terms. “Parental responsibility” is related to decision-making authority. “Time-sharing” is related to the time each parent gets to spend with the child. Florida law has moved to a more modern view on parenting and time-sharing, which encourages joint parenting and time-sharing arrangements – and rejects any presumption that one parent should have more custody than another.
If the parents are unable to agree on a parenting and time-sharing plan, an Orlando court can order a plan based on the child’s best interest. The court will examine the child’s best interest according to factors found in the law. For example, the court will look at:
The demonstrated capacity and disposition of each parent to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing parent-child relationship, honor the time-sharing schedule, and be reasonable when changes are required;
The demonstrated capacity and disposition of each parent to determine, consider, and act upon the needs of the child as opposed to the needs or desires of the parent;
The moral fitness of the parents;
The mental and physical health of the parents;
The reasonable preference of the child, if the court deems the child to be of sufficient intelligence, understanding, and experience to express a preference;
The demonstrated knowledge, capacity, and disposition of each parent to be informed of the circumstances of the minor child, including, but not limited to, the child’s friends, teachers, medical care providers, daily activities, and favorite things;
The demonstrated capacity and disposition of each parent to provide a consistent routine for the child, such as discipline and daily schedules for homework, meals, and bedtime;
The demonstrated capacity and disposition of each parent to participate and be involved in the child’s school and extracurricular activities;
The demonstrated capacity and disposition of each parent to maintain an environment for the child which is free from substance abuse.
As you can see, there are quite a few factors that courts must consider. A family law attorney can help you put forth your best arguments as it pertains to each.
In What Circumstances Will an Orlando Court Grant Sole Custody to a Mother?
An Orlando court may order that one parent receives sole parental responsibility in certain circumstances. For example, if the court finds that the father,
has a substance abuse problem interfering with his ability to care for the child;
has committed domestic violence or child abuse;
is currently living with another person that poses a threat of harm to the child;
suffers from psychological problems;
may flee the state or country with the child;
has neglected the child;
has not been in the child’s life;
is unable to give the child a safe and stable home.
It is also possible for an Orlando court to grant a mother sole time-sharing in certain circumstances. However, the court will likely consider alternative options like ordering that the father’s parenting time be supervised or limited. If the father does not pose a risk of harm to the child, the court will likely award the father some visitation, even if the court awarded the mother sole parental responsibility.
What Can a Mother Do to Increase the Chance of Getting Full Custody in Orlando?
Again, it is important to note that the court will use various factors to evaluate what custody arrangement is in the child’s best interest. However, mothers can take a few actions that will increase their chances of getting full custody of their child:
Spend a lot of time with your child;
Keep notes on how much time the father spends with the child and the time the father misses;
Be involved in all decisions regarding the child’s major issues (i.e., education and health care);
Show good parenting skills, like helping the child with homework and using appropriate discipline;
Make sure that your home is safe and clean for the child.
Be sure to consult with an experienced attorney before attempting to get full custody of your child. A lawyer can help you throughout the process to make sure your interest is fully represented during the divorce and child custody proceedings.