In divorce cases, Florida courts give importance to maintaining each parent’s relationship with the child. If the option is available, courts would have both parents share parental responsibility and practice time-sharing, as long as it is in the child’s best interests. But what if one of the parents is in prison? Will they ever get to see their child?
Will the courts allow the child to visit the parent in jail?
Whether the child can visit their parent in prison will depend on the judge and the circumstances surrounding the situation. The courts usually deem prison visits traumatizing for minor children, so they rarely allow the same. But if courts find that the visit will not affect the child negatively, and may even help them cope, then the court may authorize the same. Ultimately, if the judge deems a prison visit harmful to the child’s physical, mental and emotional well-being, it will suspend time-sharing.
Does the suspension of time-sharing affect parental responsibility?
Not necessarily. If the court finds it best for both parents to decide on the important aspects of a child’s life, such as education, health and religion, it can continue allowing the incarcerated parent to have shared parental responsibility.
Other circumstances that may terminate parental rights
While a parent’s imprisonment does not automatically terminate their parental rights, other circumstances might, including the following:
- Conviction of a grave or sexual crime
- Behavioral pattern that makes the parent a habitual offender
- Jail sentence that will last the entirety of the child’s minority
- Determination that the parent-child relationship will cause harm to the child’s well-being
A parent’s incarceration will definitely create an impact on the parenting plan. And while all parents want to see their children, it is best to respect the court’s decision. When courts decide on custody cases, they use the child’s best interests as the ultimate guide.