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Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 27621
Experience:  Attorney with experience in family law.
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I am divorced with a 15 year old. We have joint custody.

Customer Question

I am divorced with a 15 year old. We have joint custody. However, my daughter lives 100% of the time with me. Is there any benefit to officially filing for physical custody? I purposely moved into the front of the same neighborhood as my ex (our former home) for my daughters benefit, but she says she is more comfortable staying here. Her father will take her to dinner and run errands and buy things for her, but she is in my care 100% of the time. I didn't know if there is a protection or something as such to obtaining physical custody. Her father completely and totally allows her to stay here and I have never coerced her. I guess we have both left it up to her and she has decided she wants to stay and sleep here all the time.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Hi,

I'm Lucy, and I'd be happy to answer your questions today.

If you have split custody, chances are that your child support payments are lower than what they would be if you had 100% custody. You may want to look at the state's calculator to get an idea what you should be receiving, because that can help you determine whether it's worth going back to court.

http://www.alllaw.com/calculators/childsupport/florida

It could be easier for you to get a passport for your daughter if you had sole legal custody, if that's an issue for you. She only needs parental consent to get it until she turns 16, though, so it'll be moot in a few months (and doesn't matter if she already has one).

Otherwise, the primary protection in having the order changed is to avoid a situation where tries to have you held in contempt of court for not forcing your daughter to go to his house. You're really in the best position to determine if he's likely to do that. The most common reason a conflict would arise down the road is if one of you enters a serious relationship with a new partner (either because he wants to show his new partner what a great father he is, or because he resents you seeing someone new). Note that if you have anything in writing where you discuss the changes, including emails or text messages, you're protected. But, with the order as it is, he could come and pick up your daughter over your objection (assuming she'd go), and there's nothing you can do about it as long as the order lets him see her during that time.

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