When an unmarried couple breaks up, the parties often fail to go through the steps to obtain a child custody order. Many times, they feel that they can handle sharing custody obligations and responsibilities by themselves, without the involvement of the court. However, in many cases, the relationship deteriorates, which can leave one party at a distinct disadvantage if the other chooses to wage a nasty custody fight. Paternity is not the only fathers' rights issue that Florida men must address -- it is also important to obtain a custody order.
To illustrate this point, consider the recently reported story of a father who was arrested for spending time with his daughter. The three-year-old child had previously shared time between the homes of her mother and father, who ended their seven-year relationship in September. There was no formal custody plan in place at the time of the incident that led to the arrest.
The man's attorney told reporters that the mother agreed to a visit on a recent Saturday. However, when the father did not attend a family gathering later that same day, the woman called police. That led to a search for the man and child and the arrest of the father. He had to spend the night in jail before a hearing was held the following morning. With more than 10 family members in attendance, the man was released from custody, but ordered not to contact the mother or child.
As this case demonstrates, it is not always possible to predict how another person will handle the challenges of co-parenting. Having a formal child custody agreement eliminates the risk that one parent could become angry, call the Florida police and begin the chain of events that could lead to a criminal charge. This is a fathers' rights matter that many men overlook, but one that can have lasting ramifications for both fathers and children.
Source: wptv.com, "Father jailed after taking daughter released from jail; his family says he did nothing wrong", Charles Keegan, Oct. 18, 2016