filing for custody

Filing for Custody in Florida

In many situations in life, ambiguity can be a huge point of stress and disappointment. Raising a child is no exception. Planning, boundaries, and routine are paramount. Any single parent will tell you that these three things can be very difficult to come by, even though they are very necessary for the health and happiness of the home. If you are divorced or separated and your child shares time between yourself and his or her other parent, it is critical that the planning and preparation, boundaries, and routine are not neglected. Success for your child is built on those building blocks. 

Parenting Plans

Devising a parenting plan can be a great first step in creating the stability that your child needs. Depending upon the circumstances, it might also be a good idea to file for custody of your child. There are several reasons that filing for custody of your child might be necessary. The following reasons are some that can result in ‘full custody’ or ‘sole custody’ being granted. Although necessary in the instances below, ‘full’ or ‘sole’ custody might not be necessary for your situation. It all comes down to the safety and well being of your child.

Abuse and/or Neglect

If the other parent has a history of abuse (violence or sexual abuse) and has abused your child, another child, or yourself, then this individual is an obvious threat to your child and measures should be taken to keep your child out of harm’s way. The child must be protected from a neglectful parent. 

Substance Abuse and/or Mental Illness

If the other parent abuses drugs or alcohol, he or she is most likely a threat to the safety of the child as well. Mental illness and substance abuse are very similar in that the individual has an altered state of mind and could be a potential hazard to the child.


If the child has been abandoned by the other parent or is no longer of ‘interest or importance’ to the other parent, or if the other parent has relocated or become incarcerated, it is most likely a good idea to file for custody.

A Glimpse at filing for Custody

In Florida, a parenting plan must be submitted by the parents. The Florida family court must approve the plan. It is at this point that the court will determine whether one or both of the parents should maintain physical or legal custody of the child.

Physical Custody: This is where and with whom the child will live and stay. 

Legal Custody: The parent who maintains legal custody will be able to make decisions regarding legal matters for the child.

If you are curious about filing for custody in Florida, it would be advantageous to locate a family law attorney to help you to navigate your way through the process. Filing for custody can seem daunting and complicated at first, much like the responsibility of being a parent. Just as every child, every parent, and every situation is unique; each parenting plan and custody agreement should be different. This will ensure that the child is getting the care that he or she needs.

Remember; planning, boundaries, and routine can change your child’s life for the better. As a parent, you hold the key to unlocking these attributes of the home. If you feel as though you need to set boundaries and a routine for your child, time is of the essence. Every moment in your child’s life is a critical one. Your child, however, is not the only one that can benefit from a healthier home. Everyone involved deserves a healthy routine and lifestyle.