This is the next article in my series on Melbourne, Florida cases in which one parent wishes to obtain primary custody of a child. My last article discussed situations in which a Court may be likely to grant a majority time share. It is important to understand that there are obvious situations in which a Court will grant primary custody and that there are also situations which are less obvious. In this article I will discuss another important topic – the need to take immediate action if you are seeking primary custody. If you require assistance then call my office today to speak with a lawyer.
If you believe that your having primary custody is in the best interests of the child then you should immediately take legal action. When determining what is in a child’s best interests, one of the factors the Court will look to is the historical relationship between the parents and the child. Say, for example, that your are currently employing a joint time share with the other parent. The longer you allow the situation to continue then the more likely the Court is to consider it a “status quo.” The Court will then be less likely to grant primary custody as it would against the historical norm. Also, if you had joint custody for an extended period of time, without going to Court, then the Judge will likely see this as a sign that you did not have a prior issue with joint custody; the Court will likely reason that a parent who was worried about their child’s well-being would have gone to Court sooner. In order to prevent the other side from arguing in favor of the status quo, it is important that you take immediate action.
There are instances in which a parent may already have a child, for a majority of the time, even though the parties do not have a custody order. In such instances it is still important for a parent in such a situation to gain an order saying that they officially have primary custody. This is due to the fact that, under Florida law, the parents are considered to have equal rights to a child when no Court order is in place. Say, for example, that Parent “A” has traditionally only had the child on the weekends. Now say that A refuses to return the child to his or her counterpart when the weekend is over. Due to the fact that there is no Court order, the other parent would have no right to retrieve the child from A. By having a Court order in place, which states your current situation, you can ensure that you have enforceable rights. This helps to prevent a wide range of disputes.
These are just some of the reasons why parents should immediately obtain a Court order if they wish to, or currently have, primary custody of their child. As a family law attorney, I handle many such cases. Contact my office today to speak with a Melbourne child custody lawyer. We also service clients in the Brevard County cities of Titusville, Cocoa, Palm Bay, Grant, Valkaria, and Rockledge, as well as in the Indian River County areas of Fellsmere, Sebastian, Vero Beach, Indian River Shores, and Orchid.