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Since 1997 we are Tampa attorneys practicing exclusively in Divorce, Family, Adoption, Bankruptcy & Mediation Services: practicing in Tampa, Riverview, Brandon, Valrico, Lithia and all of Hillsborough County as well as for bankruptcy in all counties in the Tampa Division of the Middle District of Florda: Hillsborough, Pinellas, Manatee, Sarasota, Hardee, Hernando, Polk, and Pasco Counties. Our lawyers have experience practicing in contested and uncontested divorces, including military divorces, and family law, child support, child custody and visitation, relocation of children, alimony, domestic violence, distribution of assets and debts, retirement/pensions (military and private), enforcement and modification of final judgments, paternity actions, adoptions, and name changes. We offer a free consultation and we are happy to discuss your case. Call or email to schedule a consult. Our representation of our clients reflects our dedication to them.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Question: Does the victim of domestic violence win custody of a child?

The answer to the question is that it depends.  First, you need to know that there is civil domestic violence and there is criminal domestic violence and these are treated differently, so the answer would depend on which it is in your case.
 
If there is evidence of civil domestic violence or child abuse or there is an injunction for protection against domestic violence determined in a civil court, then this may be considered by the court as detrimental to the child.  It is one of the factors listed in Fla. Statute §61.13(3), which the court looks at when determining what is in the best interest of the child when establishing a parenting plan, including the timesharing of the children. What is in the best interests of the child is the criteria the court uses in all decisions regarding children.
   
If a parent has been convicted of a misdemeanor of the first degree or higher as defined in Fla. Statute §741.28 and §775, or meets the criteria of §39.806(1)(d), then under Fla. Statute §61.13(2)(c)2) this creates a rebuttable presumption of detriment to the child.  The convicted parent may rebut this presumption; however, unless this presumption is rebutted the court may not give the convicted parent shared parental responsibility, which includes timesharing or any decisions made regarding the child.   If this were to occur, then the other parent would have sole parental responsibility of the child and make all decisions regarding him or her.  The convicted parent may get some timesharing as the court determines would best protect from further harm the child or abused spouse.
 
In Florida, it is public policy that there is shared parental responsibility for the children by both of the parents.  When there is separation or divorce each is encouraged to share in the rights and responsibilities of having children.  There is no presumption for a certain timesharing plan or for or against the mother or father.  If the parents cannot agree on a parenting plan then it will be up to the court to determine the best parenting plan based upon the child’s best interest using the factors of  Fla. Statute §61.13(3).
 
By Lynette Silon-Laguna
 

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