Can I get full legal and physical custody if the father has not paid support and is in and out of jail? 2 Answers as of June 09, 2011

My case is in Florida. My child support/custody and relocation to move out of state was finalized in September 2009. The father and I are unmarried. His back pay in child support is $15 grand and he has yet to pay one dime of that or any of the current support. His license is habitually suspended for five years, and has a suspension on top of that for non payment of child support. He's a felon and is in and out of jail. He hasn't gotten a job. He missed a visitation with my daughter. At the moment we have shared custody. We alternate holidays, he gets her every spring break(which he missed this year), and he gets her the first 5 weeks of summer. Do I have any chance of getting sole custody based on the fact that he hasn't paid any support, missed a visitation, he's a felon, doesn't have a job, his license is suspended, and he's in and out of jail? My daughter's supposed to go spend a few weeks with him soon, and I feel very uncomfortable letting her go for so long because he keeps getting himself into trouble and the family environment over there is just not healthy at all. She's only 4. Also, if by any chance he gets arrested while she's visiting him, would I be able to have my parents (who live in the same city as him), pick her up until I can fly myself over there? Another question, the last time she visited him (Christmas of 2010), she told me that she didn't have her own bed and was sleeping with her grandparents. What can I do about that? Or what can I do to make sure she's got her own place to sleep? Am I able to refuse to send her if she doesn't have her own bed? Can I get DCF involved? Please help.

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Joanna Mitchell & Associates, P.A.
Joanna Mitchell & Associates, P.A. | Joanna Mitchell
You should consult with an attorney as soon as possible. In order to modify your current court orders, you would need to file a supplemental petition for modification. Unfortunately, his lack of paying child support does not effect his right to visitation. However, some of the other circumstances mentioned could be used to modify the current timesharing order. My office offers free initial telephone consultations if you would like to discuss this matter in more detail, as well as explore the potential rights and options available. If you would like to coordinate a free initial telephone consultation, please contact my office to schedule same.
Answer Applies to: Florida
Replied: 6/9/2011
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