Child custody matters are always difficult because they will have a significant impact on the lives of the children involved. They also will affect you and the other parent, but the one thing to keep in mind above all else when it comes to custody is to put the children first.
The Florida Statutes explain the law always defaults to what is best for the children. However, it also states that both parents have equal rights. The law makes no presumption that the mother or father is the best one to parent the children, which means a father certainly can get custody of the children.
The law says the court should respect that children deserve to have contact with both parents. It should be meaningful and allow them to cultivate a relationship with both parents. The court should encourage joint custody when possible or at least shared parenting.
While equality and fairness are the ultimate goals, the court can lean more towards one parent than the other based on information presented in court. If you show the other parent is unfit or has issues in his or her life that could be dangerous or unhealthy for the children, the court may lean more towards giving you the majority of parenting time.
Issues such as domestic violence or sexual assault convictions can also play into which parent gets majority custody. These factors could also mean one parent gets no unsupervised time with the children.
The bottom line is the court tries to allow the children to have as much time with each parent as possible. It may have to make tough decisions about parenting time due to certain factors that could harm the child.