Child Well Being & Best Interests
by Nicky from Tampa, Florida, Hillsborough County
Hi, my boyfriend has a 5 year old son with his ex who he was never married to. He is ordered to pay child support but is behind. We have been together for two years and their son has gone back and forth between both parents.
She has lived in at least 5 different places in the past two years and DCF has been involved with her at least 3 times.
Recently she was arrested on drug charges, crack cocaine and marijuana, while their son was at the house with her.
DCF contacted her mother and we didn't find out anything until 3 days later from a third party. What are our options to remove the child from her custody?
Answer to Florida Child Custody Question
Have your boyfriend contact the DCF
case manager right away.
When DCF removes a child from a home and places him with a relative, they are doing so as an emergency measure.
It is very likely that the child's mother told law enforcement to contact her mother (the grandmother) and did not mention the father at all.
The mother may have even told the officers that the father was not involved in the child's life at all.
A DCF placement such as this is a Temporary placement, but these temporary placements can continue for years if unchallenged. So, your boyfriend needs to be proactive in challenging that placement. DCF and the Florida family courts are obligated to act in the best interests of the child.
If the grandmother does not believe that the child being placed in the custody of the father is in the child's best interests, then your boyfriend may have to show the court that it is in fact in his child's best interests that he live with his father.
If you and your boyfriend have a stable home life, and neither one of you has any criminal charges, no drugs, etc. then make sure that the caseworker knows this.
All things being equal, a father may be a more appropriate custodial parent than a grandmother, because of the bond between father and son.
The father is younger and may be in better health; and there may be other siblings that your son can be raised with. Notice:
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