How the Florida Courts Resolve Child Custody Disputes
Historically speaking, mothers obtained custody of the children in divorce far more than fathers did. However, today, the traditional roles of mothers and fathers have changed.
Prior to the 1960s, men were typically the breadwinner, while the wife stayed home to take care of the house and raise the children. The average educated male was hard working and employed, while the average female married just outside of high school. The majority of college students were male because many females were planning to get married and stay home, so an education was no use to them.
The male and female roles were very simple back then – the men worked while the women raised the family. A vast majority of jobs were created for men only. If women wanted to work, they would have to assume the traditional female roles, such as being a secretary, nurse or teacher. There just weren’t the same job opportunities for women back then that there are today.
Today’s workforce bares only a slight resemblance to the way it was a generation or two ago. Women are assuming jobs that were only available to men thirty or forty years ago. Women now hold down jobs in the trucking industry, in manufacturing, law enforcement, medicine and law. There are even female firefighters, even though the job is still predominantly held by their male counterparts.
The changes in work-related laws over the years have had a direct impact on the American family. As women are taking on more responsibility outside of the home than ever before, fathers’ roles are changing as well. In fact, it is not uncommon to see the wife and mother supporting the family, while the father stays at home to care for the house and raise the children.
These sweeping changes to the societal and cultural norms have changed the way that Florida courts view child custody and visitation. As so many women are now becoming the sole bread winner, while dad stays at home with the kids, and because many households are dual-income households where both parents share in the rights and responsibilities of raising their kids – the courts are taking notice. Instead of automatically awarding custody to the mother – fathers are now given equal consideration in determining child custody.
Florida courts stand firm on the fact that when they are resolving a child custody dispute, they will always consider what is in the child’s best interests. In addition to the child’s best interests, the courts also take the position that they prefer to have both parents actively involved in the child’s life. This is providing that both parents desire to be involved and that there is no history of domestic violence, drug or alcohol dependency.
It is always best for the parents to come to child custody and visitation agreement on their own, for only they are truly aware of their child’s needs and desires. However, when the parents cannot agree, a judge will have to step in and make the decision for them.
Whenever you are having a child custody dispute, it is extremely important that you hire your own legal representation. An experienced family law attorney will know exactly how to present your case to the judge. The last thing you want to do is show up in court without an attorney. If this happens, your spouse’s lawyer will most likely level you in court.
When you are handling such delicate matters as a child custody dispute, you have to work with an attorney who you can trust. There could be extremely important issues such as child abuse, domestic abuse, drug or alcohol abuse, neglect or verbal abuse that you will need to address with the courts. Only a skilled Tampa divorce lawyer will know how to compile convincing evidence to the judge. Without appropriate measures, a judge might base your case on hearsay and award custody to your spouse instead of you.