Sadly, domestic violence is a more common problem in Florida than people in the greater Tampa area would realize.
Many couples in fact split up, and ask a Florida court to make custody and parenting time decisions, precisely because one spouse has decided that she needs to escape a cycle of domestic violence.
Florida law refers to parental responsibility and time-sharing when talking about custody and parenting time. For typical families, the assumption is that parents will share parental responsibility, that is, decision-making authority on significant issues in a child’s life.
However, if a parent is convicted of certain crimes involving domestic violence, even if they are misdemeanor offenses, then the court has to presume that providing shared parental responsibility is not in a child’s best interests. Likewise, time-sharing may be limited in these circumstances.
A parent who has been convicted still has the option to try to convince the court that he should still have parental responsibility and should still be able to see his children.
In these cases, a court may choose to award supervised visits or take other appropriate action to protect the children as well as the victim of domestic violence.
Even without a conviction, domestic violence is still a consideration
Even if a parent has not been convicted of domestic violence, the other parent is still free to present evidence that it was a problem.
A Florida judge may consider evidence of domestic violence when deciding the best interests of children involved in a custody proceeding. The judge is free to take appropriate action in such cases.
A parent in the Tampa area who has been a victim of violence has options for protecting herself and her children. On the other hand, someone who has been falsely accused will want to understand his options and prepare his case appropriately.