Do Florida Courts Have A Bias Against Fathers In Custody Proceedings?
If you are a father who has filed for divorce, or have received paperwork informing you that your spouse has started proceedings, child custody is likely one of the biggest concerns you are facing. Historically, family courts have favored mothers in child custody proceedings, not necessarily because of their gender but because they were the ones who typically stayed home and spent the most time with the children.
Today, the courts do not consider gender when making decisions on child custody matters. In fact, it is against the law for judges to consider gender when resolving custody disputes. Below, our Brandon child custody attorney explains more.
Are Florida Courts Biased Against Fathers?
Throughout the nation, the bias against fathers has not been entirely erased. According to statistics from the 2016 U.S. Census Bureau, one of every six custodial parents are fathers. That is lower than 18 percent. In some states, such as Ohio, only 23.7 percent of fathers are awarded child custody. Fortunately, fathers have a much better chance of obtaining a favorable outcome in their child custody case in Florida.
According to data collected by Custody X Exchange in 2018, the family courts throughout the country award fathers child custody approximately 35 percent of the time. The news is even better for fathers in Florida, as the same study shows dads have a 50 percent chance of obtaining child custody during divorce proceedings. These numbers show that Florida courts do not maintain any bias against fathers.
The Best Interests of the Child
The main factors considered in Florida child custody disputes are the best interests of the child. In the Sunshine State, there are 20 factors in total that pertain to the best interests of the child. One factor is the parenting tasks and the division of parental responsibilities prior to litigation. As such, if a father was mainly responsible for raising the children, taking them to school, and doing other parenting tasks, this can work in their favor during custody proceedings.
Even when a mother was mainly responsible for parenting tasks, it is just one factor considered in custody disputes. Other factors may also help a father obtain child custody, or the main portion of time-sharing.
For example, under the best interests of the child law, judges must also consider any history of substance abuse by either party. If the mother suffered from a substance abuse problem, a judge may not consider it in the best interests of the child for her to be awarded custody. In these cases, parties not awarded the majority of time-sharing can typically petition the court to modify an order once they have received treatment and overcome their addiction.
Our Child Custody Attorney in Brandon Can Help with Your Dispute
If you are a father involved in a child custody dispute, you need legal advice. At Koether Law, P.A., our Brandon child custody attorney can advise you of your rights and make sure they are upheld so you can obtain the best outcome possible. Call us now at 813-347-8193 or contact us online to schedule a consultation.