Sole Custody & Supervised Visitation

by Peggy Sue from Sarasota, Florida, Sarasota County

Trying to get sole custody of my son, and no visitation from his father.

My son is 4 years old, I left his father when he was 3 months old (only because I couldn't leave him sooner).

I decided to leave after I got pregnant and moved to Indiana to be closer to his family.

I saw first hand how he treated his other son at the age of 9 and I was terrified that I would be raising a child with a man like he was.

He has only seen him one time since I left, and that was because he was driving his older son from Indiana to Alabama (where I was living with my mother at the time).

I only allowed the visit because my son's half brother wanted to be a part of my son's life. At that visit, he was still emotionally and physically abusive towards me, and I decided to not let him see him any more, although I had not gone to court to do this.

On this said trip, he traveled by car from Indiana to Alabama with his son and a gallon sized bag of marijuana, which is terrifying to see as a parent.

I currently reside in Sarasota, Florida, where I live with my fiancee and my son. I have lived here for 3 years. Recently, I asked for child support from my son's father, but was immediately threatened that he would get visitation and that I'd have to fly my son from Florida to Indiana for entire summers.

I know that the only reason he asked for visitation was because he wanted me to back down on asking for child support. My son does not know him at
all, has never seen pictures of him, he has known my fiancee since he was 18 months old, and only knows him as a father. What can I do to ensure that his father will not get any visitation rights?

Answer to Florida Custody & Visitation Question

Dear Peggy Sue,

Unfortunately the scenario you describe is very common.

My suggestion is that you file a Supervised-Safety-Focused Parenting Plan and request that you be granted sole custody of your son.

That form and other family law forms are available on the Florida Supreme Court's website,

Within that parenting plan you can request that your ex have no contact with the child; or only supervised contact.

As the form's name implies it is designed to keep the child safe. Since you are aware of drug abuse and dangerous behaviors, I suspect that you might be able to persuade a judge to grant only supervised visitation.

It is doubtful to me, that you would be required to fly your young son across country to visit a father he does not know. A much more likely outcome is that your ex will be granted supervised visitation and he eventually fails to exercise that right at all.

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 Sole Custody & Supervised Visitation

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Protecting My Son
by: Aundrea from Milton, Florida

I have divorce papers that say that the father can see his son 2x a week and every other weekend. Since the divorce he has went down the wrong path and doing alot of stuff I dont want my son around.

I need to adjust the divorce paper work but I am not sure where to start. He has no job no house no car and I believe he is still on drugs. He lives in a hotel with other people and it is not a good situation. He came to my house last week with the cops and the papers saying i had to give my son to him because it was his weekend. Please tell me the papers I should complete and I also want to know the quickest way to fix this mess.

--It sounds to me like you want to modify your current parenting plan and replace it with a safety focused parenting plan. Read about the Supplemental Petition to Modify Parenting Plan and Time Sharing procedure using Form 12.905(a) for more information. --Staff

Full Custody From Drug Addict Father
by: Jessica from Sarasota

Hello, I am currently married to a drug addict who has put himself in so much debt, lost his car and is being evicted. I moved in with my parents and am no longer in contact with him being that he cant afford a cell phone. How can I get fully custody for my daughter so he cant show up high and take her from me , or if i run into him and he takes her from me? Im worried that he can do that someday being that he is the father just until I get money for a divorce.

--A divorce can solve your problem. But, in the meantime, if you feel threatened you could contact the Florida Department of Children and Families, DCF website, and ask for assistance with your situation. --Staff

Obtaining Supervised Visitation
by: Anonymous

My son's father & I agreed to settle our son's visitation out of court. I have recently discovered he is romantically involved with a married woman, who has a restraining order against her husband (due to domestic violence). The father of my son is planning to live with this woman in the near future.

In the past, visitation has always been in my home. This situation worries me due to the potential harm it puts my children and I in, as well as my son's father in.

I think to myself: what if that woman's astranaged husband, follows my ex. when he comes to visit our son? What if that man tries getting even with his wifes boyfriend; by trying to harm (his only child)?

I do not know what to do. I also learned that my son's father has turned to binge drinking with his friends on weekends. What can I do?

--It's probably in you and your son's best interest to have a court order that addresses custody and visitation issues. Relying on your out of court agreement may be risky especially now that you have concerns about the father's living arrangement and his recent behavior (binge drinking). I would suggest getting some legal advice from a free referral to a Florida family lawyer, as some of the issues you state may or may not be relevant in your case. You can then proceed pro se if you like. Good luck. --Staff

Changing Supervised Visitation
by: Anonymous

In 2009 I was addicted to my pain meds. When we divorced in 2010 I was given supervised visitation. Since then I have remarried, graduated drug class, have a 2 yr old and also raising my wife's son. Since 2011 my ex has allowed me to see my daughter. But she'll do it for a few weeks then changes her number and again the next year and so on.

My wife and her talk on a daily basis. I have asked to talk and see her and her response is I have to ask my boyfriend. My daughter wanted pics of me, my ex replied I have never seen her so happy. She and her mother say they are proud of me, every time I see her she tries to say I had to take her to therapy.

She told my wife that she was going to school saying someone's going to take me. When my wife asked why, she said her and her bf have adult convos and will not anymore until she is in bed. We have all these in text messages for proof.

My daughter will be 7 soon. I want to ask for modification but scared she will fight me. I'm willing to drug test. My ex keeps saying may soon we can meet up and when we call her she has other plans. She has said she doesn't follow through bc it's hard on her bc she still loves me. What can I do and if I bring in all the proof will they allow me to to see her without mom?

--It looks like your circumstances have changed since the divorce, but it is hard to say whether a judge will grant a modification especially if your ex contests it. Her pattern of changing plans at the last minute and the other factors you state may be enough for a modification. It might help to be familiar with the best interest factors the court will use to consider your modification request. --Staff

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