While most judges understand what impacts domestic and family violence can do to a child, and during separation and divorce cases, judges are reluctant to have a child placed back into custody of an abusive parent or guardian. Luckily, most states have laws that dictate how such cases should be decided upon when dealing with domestic violence and child custody.
At Ali & Blankner, your domestic violence attorney in Orlando FL, we understand that Florida family law judges will decide two different aspects of child custody for divorced or separated parents who share the responsibilities of their children. First they determine which parent will have “legal custody”, which refers to any of the child’s educational, medical, religious and other major life decisions. “Physical custody” addresses the child or children’s living arrangements and any visitation arrangements may be issued.
During this process, there are many things that a judge needs to consider before custody rulings can be made. The judge(s) must consider:
• What are the parent’s relationship with the child?
• What are their parenting abilities?
• What are the parent’s areas of responsibilities for the child?
• What is the children’s current living situation?
• What is it the CHILD wants?
• Evaluation of the parent’s mental and physical health, along with their moral character.
• Evaluating the child’s home, school, and community.
• Evaluating the parent’s knowledge about their children’s activities, favorite hobbies, friends, school, etc.
• How each parent is able to provide daily for each child through meals, discipline, homework, etc.
• How each parent is able and willing to communicate with one another about the child’s needs.
• Are there any problems with drugs or alcohol for either parent?
• Is there any evidence of child abuse, neglect, abandonment, sexual or domestic violence?
• Was any false information given about the presence of violence or abuse through one of the parents?
Domestic violence in the state of Florida, is an assault, battery, stalking, kidnapping, sexual abuse, or another similar criminal offense by one family member, or household member such as partner, causes injury or even death to another. This can also be applied to couples who may no longer live together, or are married to one another, however, their past history together constitutes it as domestic violence. If you believe you are in any immediate danger, or fear for your safety, you should contact 911 and seek help.
Florida judges will do everything that they can to keep families as close as possible, believing both parents should share custody, unless of course, it is unfit or harmful to the child in some way. If for some reason, one parent has have a past conviction, their chances of any type of custody or visitation has a greater chance of being reduced or even taken away. There are ways to help ensure that convicted parent may still be a part of their child’s life, but now they may have to prove to the court why they should be allowed to share custody with the child’s other parent. One way to do that is to have an expert legal team, such as Ali & Blankner, to assist you in not only dealing with the stress of the court system, but as a support system as well.