You might think the time has passed when Florida courts and others in the nation automatically grant child custody to mothers. While it's true things definitely aren't what they used to be (which, most think is a good thing) it can still be quite challenging for fathers to obtain custody of their kids.
Family life, in general, has undergone a face-change in America. Like most good fathers, you don't want your divorce to impede your relationship with your children.
Support is key
When you sat your kids down to explain the upcoming changes that were going to take place in your family, you probably assured them you'd be right by their side through it all and that you'd still be able to have the close relationship you've always enjoyed. Trying not to let the legal aspects of divorce drag you down in front of your kids is challenging. However, if you have a strong support network set up, you and your kids will likely be able to overcome any obstacles that arise.
Lay the groundwork for successful custody hearings
Hopefully, you and your former spouse get along well enough that you both agree the key factors in helping your kids come to terms with your divorce is your own willingness to cooperate and compromise for their sakes. If you disagree regarding who should have custody, you may be in for a court battle. The following ideas may help you increase your chances of obtaining a favorable outcome:
- Make sure you're up for the task: Wanting custody and having custody are two entirely different things. Before you petition the court, make certain you are able to fulfill all the responsibilities and obligations that accompany child custody.
- Consider your job as it relates to custody: Where do you work? How long do you work on an average day? Will your job impede your ability to fulfill your custody obligations? A judge will want to know these things.
- Create a plan and be ready to execute it: If a judge asks where you'll live with your kids and you say in a single-family home but do not own one nor have money to purchase one at this time, that'll be a problem. Develop a plan ahead of time and be ready to act on it.
- Show evidence of a meaningful relationship: The court can quickly determine if a parent is merely seeking custody as a means of revenge against a former spouse. Show the court you are actively involved in your children's lives.
- Stay in good standing regarding child support: If you're already paying child support, the best thing you can do is keep paying on time. Unless and until the court modifies an existing court order or grants you full custody, thereby eliminating the need for you to pay child support, you must adhere to the existing court ruling.
If your spouse has also filed for custody, it'll be up to a Florida court to determine which arrangement would be in your children's best interests. You don't have to go it alone in court. In many cases, enlisting the aid of an experienced family law advocate helps tip the scales in your favor.