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Can I Get Sole Custody in Florida?

Child custody is based on the health, education, and emotional well being of the child. Also referred to as a “parenting plan”, couples will create a plan that includes time-sharing or details when the child will spend time with the other parent. In most cases, reaching a state of shared responsibility is the primary goal in custody battles. But, in the event shared parenting could be detrimental to the child, the courts may award one parent sole custody.

Sole Custody in Florida

Sole custody, also referred to as sole parental responsibility, is when one parent is given the duty to care and make decisions on behalf of the child. While Florida rarely cuts off one parent from their parental rights, they may have restricted visitation to ensure the safety (physical or emotional) of the child.

It is very difficult to be awarded sole custody of a child in Florida; therefore, if you are attempting to seek sole custody, speak with a Miami family law attorney first to explore your options. You will need to demonstrate that there is a compelling reason to be granted sole custody.

Reasons the Court May Grant Sole Custody

There are instances where Florida courts will grant one parent sole custody. These situations can include:

  • Domestic Violence - This is the most common reason sole custody is awarded. If your spouse has a history (and preferably criminal record) of domestic violence and has abused you or the child, the courts will consider that a clear threat to the child’s well-being. In these cases, you may receive sole custody.
  • Clear Neglect - If neglect is clearly apparent, then you may be granted sole custody. You will need to show evidence that the other parent failed to provide your child with food/water, medical care or proper supervision while under their care.
  • Drug and/or Alcohol Abuse - If one parent has a history of drug or alcohol abuse, then you may be granted sole custody. You will need evidence that this problem has prohibited him or her from being able to take care of their children or make important decisions.If the spouse has gone through rehab and no longer has a history or there is any evidence of drug/alcohol abuse, then you may find it difficult to get sole custody.
  • Mental Illnesses - Some mental illnesses, especially those that threaten the safety of the child, may force the courts to grant one parent sole custody.

How You Can Obtain Sole Custody

If you feel you have a case for sole custody, there are some things you can do to better the chances the court will grant your request, including:

  • Hire a Miami Family Law Attorney - Never attempt to seek sole custody without an attorney. A divorce attorney in Miami can help you build your case for sole custody, gather evidence, and represent your case in court in front of the judge.
  • Get Evidence - Before taking your case to court, you will need to collect evidence proving your reason for requesting sole custody. This evidence must be compelling and prove your spouse was neglectful, outright abusive or threatens the safety of the child.
  • Present Your Case - When presenting your case in front of a judge, leave the emotions at the door. Never come off vindictive or out to get your spouse; this will only hurt your chances. Your Miami family law attorney may speak on your behalf and if you have to testify, present your case proving that you should be the custodial parent for your children and that interactions with the other parent will be harmful to the child’s emotional, mental or physical well-being.

Need Sole Custody? Meet with a Miami Family Law Attorney Today

Do not put your child’s healthy and safety at risk. If you feel you have a case for sole custody, contact the Miami child custody attorneys at Estevez-Pazos Law Firm today for a consultation. Call our office in Coral Gables, Florida anytime at 305-717-7130 or visit

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135 San Lorenzo Avenue, Suite 650
Coral Gables, Florida 33146
Fax: 305-234-7028
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