While the term custody has been replaced under Florida law by the term "Parenting Plan" since it is still a common term used by those who may not be familiar with the change in terms, we have included this page using the term child custody and visitation.
When one parent has been granted primary custody of a minor child, the other parent will be granted visitation rights unless specific circumstances warrant a denial of visitation by the court. The court may also order a period of supervised visitation if circumstances dictate it is necessary for the best interest of a minor child.
When custody of a minor child had been determined, the visitation rights of the nonresidential parent will be determined, including the responsibilities, limitations, and the visitation schedule.
The primary concern for the court is what is in the best interest of a minor child (or children). When it comes to which parent a minor child will primarily reside, the court will often rule in favor for that which provides for minor children to continue to have an active relationship with both parents.
The are occasions when specific issues or allegations may play a roll in determining who the primary residential parent is, as well as visitation rights. These issues relating to a parent that an allegation or issue to be raised with the court in child custody hearings often include, but are not limited to:
Drug or alcohol abuse;
A parent living in an unsafe environment for children;
Physical or mental abuse;
Or certain forms of criminal behavior.
It is important to understand that if a claim of misconduct is made against a parent that is deemed by the court as being untrue, the claim of misconduct is often viewed a false allegation and could result in the court reacting in an unfavorable manner toward the parent who made the false claim of misconduct. It will often be considered an act of attempting to deceive the court in an effort to gain favor in legal proceedings, and to discredit the other parent.
In just the past few years there has been a dramatic shift in what was once perceived as the mother automatically being granted custody of the children. Father's rights, and the ability for the father of a child to be granted as the primary custodial parent has taken a turn for "leveling the playing field".
In reality the courts have simply taken a more detailed look into the dynamic of each child custody case in an effort to rule in favor of what is in the best interest of the child, or children. Another factor in more fathers being granted primary custody is that more fathers are fighting for custody of their children than in years past, rather than simply conceding custody.