Parents going through a separation in Florida may fear losing a child custody battle, but there are behaviors that parents can avoid to help mitigate the risk. Generally speaking, if parents were both in their child’s life up to the time of separation, and provided they live close enough that they can reasonably share custody, judges will try to give custody time to each parent. However, even if this does happen, a judge can modify a custody order at any time if something goes wrong with the joint custody arrangement.

First, there are some obvious behaviors that will keep a parent away from a child, like physically abusing the child. Even a parent who does not hit his or her child but who is abusive to the other parent may lose custody and visitation rights since this behavior is unhealthy and risky for the child.

If one parent tries to keep his or her child from the other parent, the court will be less inclined to give custody time to the alienating parent. A judge’s role is to consider what is best for a child’s emotional well-being, and it is not healthy for one parent to try to keep the child to himself or herself.

Similarly, it is problematic if parents say negative things about the other parent to their children since this can cause distress to a child. Even if one parent says negative things to a case worker or guardian ad litem, this could wind up hurting the parent in court.

It is important for parents to adhere to the terms in any custody agreement or order. For instance, if a parent is required to tell the other parent about out-of-town trips with their kid, the other parent should be notified in advance. Family law attorneys may be able to help draft child custody agreements, but the agreements only work if the parents stick to the rules.