Gaining Full Custody & Supervised Visitation

by Mary from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Broward County

Its been three months since the birth of my son and after a couple reconciliations and false promises his father continues his alcoholic rages.

During my pregnancy there was abuse and I left his home after an incident in which I filed a police report at the advice of my advocate at the facility called Women in Distress and stayed for three months.

I came back to his father after he insisted he would change his ways. I was thinking about joint custody but I just do not feel safe leaving my son with him at all. He is a convicted drug felon.

There has been abuse since the birth but I did not file a police report in which I should. Does his record and the police report help me in any way because it is all I have. There has been drug and alcohol abuse consistently through out his whole life.

While I was pregnant he had been abusing prescription drugs prior for 4 years until he says he kicked the habit last September.

Answer to Florida Child Custody Question

Dear Mary,

My best advice is: Get away from this man and don't look back. It is part of the cycle of abuse that the abuser promises to reform, and is so sorry, and the victim takes him back.

As soon as the "honeymoon" is over he goes right back to the abuse. If you are not married
to him, he has no rights to see your son until he goes to court and asks for those rights.

If you are married to him, and you plan to divorce, you can file Form 12.995(b) Supervised Safety Focused Parenting Plan. Instructions for the Supervised Safety Focused Parenting Plan form state in part:

A Parenting Plan is required in all cases involving minor children.

This form or a similar form should be used in cases when you feel your children cannot be safely alone with the other parent or if you believe shared parental responsibility presents a detriment to the children.

In this case, a Parenting Plan must be developed that allows time-sharing with any minor children, while providing protection for the children. If safety or supervised time-sharing is not a concern, Parenting Plan, Florida Supreme Court Approved Family Law Form 12.995(a) should be used.

You can request that he only be allowed supervised visitation.

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 Gaining Full Custody & Supervised Visitation

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Child Custody & Protection
by: M. from Branford, Florida, Suwannee County

I moved to Florida July 8, 2009. I was in a abusive relationship with the father of my children. I had to file for a PPO. After I did that he would threaten my life. He was getting in trouble, and was sent to jail. But after he was sentenced to two months of rehab he escaped. He showed up at my house trying to get in.

I went to the Friend of the Court in Michigan to see what I had to do to get full legal custody. They told me it would be best for me to file when I moved down here. He was sent to prison a few months ago. He doesn't communicate with the kids. But I want to make sure he can't just come down here and take them when he gets out.

--My suggestion is to file a Supervised Safety Focused Parenting Plan, Supreme Court approved form, 12.995(b). Within the form there is an option to select, which states that contact with the other parent would be detrimental to the children. Also have a look at our Florida Legal Aid page for resources you may be able to use in your situation. --Staff

Unmarried Mother & Order of Protection
by: Liz form Tampa, Florida, Hillsborough County

Can you please tell me if I was never married to the father of my child who is 18 months old and there is a current order of protection in effect until 2012, does he have any custody rights to my child? I have been the sole supporter and care giver since his birth as I have been the only one employed. I've been solely taking care of him as well as the father and we have been apart since my son was 4 months old. He has been incarcerated for the last 11 months and I am really worried that he will try to take him or even gain unsupervised visitation once he gets out of jail.

--Since you were not married to the father of your child, he does not have any paternal rights until and unless he asserts them. Is he the legal father? Is his name on the child's birth certificate? Did he sign an Affidavit of Paternity? Have you named him as the father in order to collect child support? Your order of protection very likely includes a no-contact clause, where he is not allowed to see you, call you, or send messages to you through another person.

As you must believe that your ex is a threat to you, be very diligent in not allowing him any contact whatsoever with you. Ask the Domestic Violence Advocate to have the jail/prison contact you before he is released. (Sometimes Corrections entities are efficient about doing so, sometimes they are not). You also might need to file a Supervised Safety Focused Parenting Plan. --Staff

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