In the state of Florida, parents who are in the process of getting a divorce will have the custody of their children decided during their divorce process. As for parents who have not yet started their divorce, they can file a child custody petition in the appropriate circuit court.
As for unwed fathers, the procedure to gain child custody is different. The father will have to first prove his paternity before filing the petition for child custody. DNA testing will likely be required to prove paternity. Once paternity has been proved, the court will decide on an appropriate parenting plan that dictates the responsibilities of both parents, in addition to a time-sharing arrangement. The court will also submit a child support order.
As for parents suffering from domestic violence, the domestic violence victim may file a request for temporary child custody. This order of temporary custody will protect both the child and the parent from future harm. However, final child custody orders will need to be issued at a later time.
In most child custody cases, Florida courts will lean toward a shared custody award, as Florida courts recognize that spending as much time with both parents is of enormous benefit to the child. Unless one parent proves that such arrangements would have a seriously negative effect on the child, an award of shared custody will likely be issued by the court.
If you're trying to navigate the process of gaining child custody in Florida, you might want to seek out professional assistance. A Florida child custody lawyer can assist you in asserting your legal parenting rights.
Source: FindLaw, "Florida Child Custody: Procedure," accessed Nov. 17, 2017