Legal Primary Custody

by Kaye from Live Oak, Florida, Suwannee County

How do I obtain legal primary custody of my son?


I have been the primary caregiver and guardian of my 11 year old son since birth.

His father has been involved in his life for about three years.

We agreed to keep everything out of the courts, however I have decided I want to obtain legal primary custody of my son.

His father has been paying child support. Paternity tests have already been done. We arrange visitation between the two of us without difficulty.

This year we added his father's name to the birth certificate and added his father's last name to my son's. I would like to have legal documentation that I have primary custody of my son. Please inform me of what I would need to do to get this.

Answer to Florida Child Custody Question

Dear Kaye,

First, let me applaud the both of you for working things out so well. Florida courts have a bias towards "shared parental responsibility".

Usually neither parent has legal primary custody; although a child generally lives with or spends more time with one parent than the other.

If you would like legal documentation regarding your custody and child visitation arrangements you could file a Parenting Plan, Florida Supreme Court approved Form 12.995(a). Have a look at our web-powered instructions page for the Parenting Plan form.

It can either be filed by both of you as a plan that has been agreed upon; or as a proposed plan by either one of you. That form and instructions for it can be found on the link above.

Notice: We provide these answers to the general public and our website visitors as a means to further their online legal research. These answers are merely suggestions and should not be regarded as legal advice.

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Comments for Legal Primary Custody

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Problems With Ex's Fiance
by: Anonymous

Me and the father of my twins have shared custody of our children and I would like to know if I can get a restraining order against his girlfriend to not be around my children. She is the type of person who acts like she is really quiet, but a few weeks ago she got mad at me and attacked me and then lied about it and said I was out of control. She is very manipulating and now she is talking behind my back to my children.

Is there anyway I can keep my children away from her but allow their father to have his time with them. The problem is they live next door to each other.

--It is doubtful you can get a restraining order against her unless you can prove that she is a danger to your children. My suggestion is to try to work out an agreement with your ex about how your kids should be treated in when they come to visit your ex, and start keeping a log of some kind to document any further misbehavior.

If it does continue, you will be able to ask for supervised visitations, but mind you, a judge will not take any of these kinds of accusations lightly. Tit for tat disputes are very common and the courts are not happy when these disputes come up before them. Do your homework and document everything. --Staff

Interstate Custody Question
by: Anonymous

I am 16 years old. My dad has primary custody of me but is abusive and I refuse to live with him. Things got so bad he decided I should live with my mom and I moved from Montana to Florida to live with her. She is a great hard working mother. I live with her now in Florida.

My dad said he can get me arrested because I do not want to live with him. My mom has no money for a lawyer. Can someone please give me answers? My dad is moving to Florida this week can he force me to live with him?

--This is so sad. I suggest that your mother seek legal advice as to what to do. If she has residency in Florida, she can seek to have a court order transferring custody and jurisdiction. These interstate custody disputes are very complicated and it is your best interest to get legal advice. Your mom can use our free lawyer referral service by clicking on the link above. Good luck. --Staff

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