How Domestic Violence Affects Child Custody in Florida



Witnessing domestic violence as a child can severely impact a person’s mental health well into adulthood. If you have a plan to leave an abusive partner, you may be wondering how their violence will affect their custody rights. Family judges know how destructive domestic violence can be on a child’s life and consider it during child custody disputes. Thankfully, Florida has clear laws regarding domestic violence and child custody.

How Florida Judges Determine Child Custody

There are two types of child custody in the state of Florida. Legal custody refers to who will make medical, educational, and religious decisions for the child, whereas physical custody refers to where the child lives and parental visitation. Florida judges will consider several factors when determining both types of custody for the child in question. Some of these factors include:

  • Both parents relationship with the child
  • The child’s preference
  • The parent’s physical and mental health
  • The parent’s moral character
  • The stability of the child’s home environment
  • How knowledgeable the parent is about the child’s life
  • The parent’s issues with drugs or alcohol
  • Any evidence of domestic or sexual violence and child abuse

While there are many factors a judge considers, evidence of domestic violence can severely impact a parent’s claim to child custody.

How Domestic Violence Affects Child Custody Disputes in Florida

In Florida, judges begin custody decisions by assuming both parents should share custody over the child in question. However, a domestic violence conviction shows the judge that granting custody to the parent responsible is not in the child’s best interest. The convicted parent then bears the burden of proving why they should be allowed any form of custody over the child.

Even if the abusive parent has not been convicted, the judge will consider any evidence of domestic violence. At the beginning of the proceedings, parents must disclose any domestic violence or injunctions. When there is evidence of domestic violence, judges will often rule that the abusive party should not have custody over the child. The court may grant visitation rights, but only after an extensive and thorough investigation of the abuse has been conducted. Depending on the extent of the domestic violence, the judge may grant the parent supervised visitation or completely terminate their parental rights.

Contact an Experienced Orlando Victim Representation Attorney

If your ex-partner is guilty of domestic violence, the first thing you should do is contact a lawyer. Your lawyer can help ensure that your abuser can no longer harm you in any way after leaving them. If you have not already, your attorney may advise you to call the police or press charges against your abuser. Having this paperwork can significantly impact the success of your case in court.

The skilled legal team at Fighter Law is committed to helping you achieve the best possible outcome f abuse charges. Attorney Thomas Feiter was named a board-certified attorney of the year and is committed to helping clients in the Orlando area. When working with the attorneys at Fighter Law, you can rest assured that our team has your best interests at heart. Complete our contact form or call our office at (407) 344-4837 to schedule a free and confidential consultation today.

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