How to Win a Child Custody Case in Florida was last modified: July 29th, 2016 by Howard Iken

Howard IkenWe all know that a child custody case in the Florida courts involves one of most critical issues you can face in your life.  Whatever the court decides will shape and color your future as a parent, change the way your child looks at you, and the way you respond to your child. Watch this timely interview with to learn some tips on how to win your custody case.



 How to Win a Child Custody Case in Florida

Our specialized content, video, and other informative media are based on input from Ayo and Iken team members,  outside guests, former team members of Ayo and Iken, independent journalists, and subject-matter authorities. The opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect the official position of Ayo and Iken. Attorneys that are not current team members at Ayo and Iken may be reached though their member listing on the Florida Bar website: www.flabar.org

Transcript


Howard Iken

Hi. This is Attorney Howard Iken, and today we’re going to our legal information studio to have a discussion about how to conduct a child custody case in the Florida Courts. What makes a really effective child custody case, because that’s probably one of the most highly contested types of cases in Florida. So, what makes a good case?

 

Guest

If a party wants to have the majority contact with their children or child, or have what we used to call primary responsibility of the children, we now call majority time sharing, the best thing for that particular parent to do is show that they have complied with the statute. So, what I mean by that is they are facilitating a relationship between the other parent and the children.

 

Howard Iken

Now, hold right there. If someone is in the middle of a really bitter case, how do they do that? How do they get along with the other parent?

 

Guest

They have to almost look at it as a business arrangement and take some of the emotion out. And if they’re not able to do that, they need to put checks and balances in place. Something I recommend to my clients is get other third party neutral people involved, whether it’s somebody through a church, or a counselor, or even a family member that both parties get along with. And if they can have that person possibly review a text message or an email before they hit send so they can take out the yelling words or they can take out the nasty language, if they can have somebody check them before they post something on a social media website, if they can have somebody at the exchange site to help keep both parties civil while they’re in front of the children and exchanging the children, then they’re more likely to – in the eyes of the court – show that they’re complying with what we require of that person.

 

Howard Iken

Have you actually found people that could do that?

 

Guest

Yes. In the last eight and a half years, I’ve actually come across a couple of parents who are able to do that. Some of the techniques and outside sources they use which will assist them even when I’m no longer a part of their life is there’s a website called My Family Wizard. And it basically enables the parties to put information on a calendar, it updates them. They can put different information related to school, extracurricular activities, medical appointments. They can coordinate and it’s been able to assist some parents. Sometimes they’re also able to retain somebody like a parenting coordinator to help them address minor issues through the case or after the case.

 

Howard Iken

I know people would definitely want to know, what are some of the worst situations where parents did the opposite of what you just said?

 

Guest

Unfortunately, I’ve had a situation where a parent took a child out of the country and hid the child, and hoped that the court couldn’t figure out where the child was, and they could wait it out and maybe try to get jurisdiction in another country. I’ve also had a situation where a parent has gone out drinking with their child or played with their firearms and thought it would be cute to take pictures of them holding a two-year-old child with a firearm loaded and put it on Facebook. There’s a lot of incidences where parents make poor decisions. I think sometimes they’re trying to egg on or distract the other parent and needle them, but when you’re in the middle of a litigation battle, especially involving children, it’s best to do less is more.

 

Howard Iken

Well, you brought up an interesting point. Facebook. We all use Facebook these days. Some people are addicted to Facebook. Has that affected custody cases?

 

Guest

It’s interesting. As a former state attorney assistant prosecutor, I was involved with cases with child neglect or other criminal aspects that involved social media. And at that time, I felt that it was a new area that we had to be very diligent as attorneys to research and understand how it can be affected, and how it can affect creating evidence or introducing evidence. Now, as a family lawyer, I’ve had a different but still unique experience where I have to figure out, will the court allow this particular piece of evidence in? Is it considered hearsay? How am I going to get around the hearsay exception? And I’ve found that attorneys that haven’t researched the issue sometimes make mistakes and just think that they’re going to get in a random page from Facebook, but there are specific legal ramifications of whether or not it can be authenticated, and a diligent attorney is going to know how to introduce social media into the court hearing.

 

Howard Iken

So, I think what you’re saying is sometimes what people put on Facebook ends up in front of the judge.

 

Guest

Yes. At the very beginning of any representation, I urge the client to cease from posting and to remove any prior potentially negative comments or photos from Facebook because they could end up in a court hearing. I also think it’s important to note that what other people post on your Facebook can affect you, and if you’re tagged in photos on other people’s websites, that can affect you as well. Facebook has a lot of negative components for a Family Law case.

 

Howard Iken

Well, if you had to boil down five really good tips people can take to heart to win their child custody case, could you boil it down to five?

 

Guest

To only five? I’ll try. Read the Statute. Read Chapter 61.

 

Howard Iken

Okay. I assume you can give a copy of that to clients.

 

Guest

Give that to the clients and make sure that you speak with your attorney about each of the factors and make sure you understand the approximate 20 factors and how that can affect your case. Take diligent notes and share those notes and those calendars with your attorney, but be aware that any notes and calendars that you do take while you’re preparing your case, the other side may try to subpoena and have you produce. So, if you keep it directly between you and your attorney and it’s correspondence, then it’s covered by attorney client confidentiality. Be careful what you put in writing and be careful what is said in front of other people, because that can and probably will be used against you. Think of the Miranda Warning. Also, it’s really important to keep the custody battle outside the little ears. There is a local radio station that says, “Safe for the little ears.” And if you can take that motto and put it into your custody battle and say, “Is this safe for the little ears?” Is what I’m saying about this person’s parent going to affect this child?

 

Howard Iken

Was that just five?

 

Guest

That might have been more or that might have been less. But I think those are really important aspects.

 

Howard Iken

Well, thank you very much.


Ayo and Iken Florida Lawyers

Ms. Belcher is an excellent attorney!!
She handled my family law case wonderfully, she was considerate and is very knowledgeable, I would definitely retain her services again if ever I needed them.
She helped me get through a very difficult time in my life .
I have gladly recommended her to family and friends.

Lisa – Avvo

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So pleased I found the right attorney. Howard Iken was trustworthy as well as knowledgeable in every aspect of family law and believe me I had a tricky case.. He took care of my me in record time. Made me feel like family. Words cannot express my gratitude.

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