Archive: December 2021

December 30, 2021

Child Custody Can Be Lost in Florida for Surprising Reasons

Wherever you are, child custody is important, and it can absolutely change depending on what is best for the child. This is also true in the state of Florida. If a parent puts their child in any kind of danger, the court can revoke parental custody. If a claim is warranted, the judge will ensure that the child is rarely or never in their care.

Child Custody Is Never Taken Lightly

It should be noted that it’s important for the courts to get both sides of the story. They also need evidence that is beyond surface level and actually has substance. When a concerned parent’s claims are backed up by the findings, then the child will not be in the care of the harmful parent.

A parent can end up losing custody of their child if the situation is severe. Arguably the most common one, of course, is abuse. Repetitive violations of an existing agreement will bring an immediate adjustment as well.

Here are some of the reasons a parent can lose child custody in the state of Florida:

  • False Abuse Accusations

Child abuse is one of the gravest reasons why a parent will lose custody. So, if one parent accuses the other parent of child abuse, that is considered a serious matter, and the court will do a thorough investigation.

If the parent is proven guilty of abuse, their rights will be revoked. However, if the accusing parent is proven lying, they will be deemed as mentally unfit and will no longer be allowed custody. 

This is a matter that’s not taken lightly. Note that the moment the accused is put under investigation, they will be under a temporary order preventing contact with the child. Worst of all, the child will be affected mentally and emotionally. 

Getting Seen as an “Unfit” Parent

There are many scenarios that make a parent “unfit” to be a parent. For example, you can file a petition with the courts if another parent is unfit because the other parent abuses or neglects their children, or because the other parent abandoned their children. A parent can also be found unfit for other reasons, such as for having a drug addiction or mental health problems. 

However, not all parents with drug addiction, mental health problems, or erratic behaviors are bad parents. The court just wants to make sure because there’s always the danger of abuse or neglect when the parent is under the influence or is mentally unstable.

  • Dirty, Unsafe Homes

A parent’s home address and living situation in general can play a huge role in their custody. If the neighborhood they’re in is prone to crime, or they have a space in a building that’s been called out for safety and health hazards, or even if the structure is not up to code, that’s a problem.

The same goes for a home that isn’t kept well, if at all. Sanitation and hygiene is top priority. Homes with vermin, mold, or health hazards can lead to temporary revocation of custody.

A child’s safety and well-being is meant to be secured at all times. Anything that threatens that will be an issue. Even if the parent is a good parent, the environment will still make a difference in the decision down the line.


Child custody is an important matter that should not be taken lightly. The courts usually need both sides of the story and substantial evidence before they make a decision. In Florida, a parent can lose custody for false abuse accusations, getting seen as an unfit parent, and having a dirty and/or unsafe home.

Need attorneys in Jacksonville that can help with a custody battle? Reach out to Dorsey Law JAX! We specialize in family law, personal injury, and criminal law.

December 16, 2021

Child Custody Laws in Florida for Unmarried Parents

Every time parents separate, it’s the children who suffer the most. That’s why parents should always try to reach an agreement regarding timesharing and child support whenever there are children involved. 

Unfortunately, discussing these things and reaching an agreeable decision for both parties is often challenging.

Typically, parents going through a divorce are encouraged to go through mediation to compromise amicably. But what happens if the parents are unmarried? Can one of the parents keep the child away from the other? 

In this post, Dorsey Law JAX focuses on the child custody laws for parents in Florida who are unmarried:

Does Florida Law Recognize Common Law Marriage?

In Florida, the only way for a couple to be legally married is by getting a marriage license from the state. Otherwise, the couple is considered to be unmarried.

It’s essential to note that the status of being “unmarried” doesn’t just affect child custody issues. This also impacts child support obligations, child support calculations, and other rights associated with parental status.

Can a Non-Married Parent in Florida Seek Sole Custody?

As mentioned above, Florida law doesn’t recognize common law marriage. Therefore, any father who is not married to a child’s mother is not presumed the legal parent.

It’s crucial to note that a court may be able to allocate timesharing in a more favorable way to the non-custodial parent. 

Are Parents in Florida Who are Not Married Considered “Parents” Under the Law?

Yes. Of course, a child born out of wedlock is still considered a child in the eyes of the law. This is no different from children born to married couples.

How Does a Court Determine Child Custody in Non-Marriage Child Custody Cases?

If parents are not married, the court still has the authority to determine the parenting plan.

In order to make this determination, the court has to follow the guidelines set forth by the Florida legislature. In the parenting plan, the court must consider the following factors amount others:

1. The interests of the child;

2. The wishes of the parents;

3. The interaction and interrelationship of the child with relatives, other children, and persons who may significantly affect the child’s best interests;

4. The child’s adjustment to their home, school, and community;

5. The mental and physical health of all individuals involved (including the child);

6. Which parent can best provide for the child and the child’s needs; and

7. Which parent is more likely to encourage a close and continuing relationship between the child and the other parent.


A non-married parent in Florida still has the same rights and obligations as a married parent. This means that it’s essential for unmarried parents to understand their rights and responsibilities.

If you’re an unmarried parent and you’re seeking child custody in Florida, Dorsey Law JAX can help you. Contact us today to schedule a legal consultation with a seasoned family attorney!

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