North Tampa Legal Group, PA

Father granted full custody after wife lied about abuse

On behalf of North Tampa Legal Group posted in child custody on Tuesday, September 4, 2018.

For Florida parents, children are typically the focal point of their divorce. Decisions about everything from property division to where each person will live may always fall back to the same question — How will it affect the kids? While this intense respect for the children’s best interests can be helpful in most cases, some parents take matters too far as they try to shift child custody in their own favor.

An out-of-state court recently upheld a ruling that gave sole custody of six children to their father. The mother had initially been granted custody. The couple married back in 1998 and had six children, whom the mother cared for while the father worked. In 2014 he moved out of the family home, ultimately filing for divorce a year later.

Until then, he had apparently been able to see his children. After the divorce filing, however, his wife stopped all visits and took their 4-year-old child to speak with a psychologist. The mother claimed that her daughter had not been sleeping well and had been making unsettling references to abusive behavior. These claims resulted in an investigation from the local Department of Children and Family Services, but the investigation concluded that the wife had made up the abuse claims and coached her daughter, seemingly in an effort to secure full custody of the children.

The results were the exact opposite of what she may have been hoping for. The children’s father was given full custody while his ex-wife was limited to a single visit a week, which must be supervised. Although she appealed this decision, it was upheld.

Child custody should always focus on one thing — the best interests of the child. In many cases this means that children will still have regular access to both parents, whether that is in a shared custody arrangement or with one parent taking primary custody and the other having visitation. When Florida parents try to insert their own wishes into proceedings, they harm their children’s interests and jeopardize their own parenting time.