Child custody in a divorce situation is usually fraught with emotion. Both of you may believe you are the better parent and want what is best for the child. Many times, you are the one who knows your child best and can provide for his or her physical and emotional needs. There are certain steps in the Florida statutes that deal with child custody that you may want to become familiar with.
First of all, you need a good attorney by your side to ensure that no steps are left out. Such things as needing to have the custody petition verified for accuracy and all the orders being sought (custody of your child, be it legal or physical) need to be registered in the county in which you reside.
You need to state for the court in the custody petition whether or not the court who previously issued the custody petition even had jurisdiction. You might think that this is something that the court itself would do, but it isn’t.
You and your attorney need to find out if any previous petition was vacated, stayed or modified and if it was modified, give the judge the case number and a brief overview of what the ruling stated. Has there been any changes to the current custody arrangement that might affect the court’s ruling at your proceeding? If so, you need to be upfront and inform the judge.
These minor details are all important. You might think that all you are going to do is go before the court and plead your case, but there is so much more you need to be aware of. For example, you need to tell the court your child’s current address — if you know it. Do you need law enforcement help in getting to speak to your child or visit with him or her?
Reading Chapter 61 of the Florida statutes will give you an idea of just how detailed it can get when you seek custody of your child.
Source: Florida Statutes, “Chapter 61: Dissolution of marriage; support; time-sharing,” accessed Sep. 09, 2015