When it comes to child custody and parenting time agreements, there was once a time when family courts favored the mother over the father. Now, though, St. Johns County Judge John Alexander wants parents to know that things are different.
He is taking a fairly hardline approach to the subject, as well. He not only wants parents to get along in regards to raising their child, he expects them to get along.
When talking about parental duties, he said “healthy parenting and child rearing is contingent on a responsible father figure and mother figure in a child’s life. Children need that; they need exposure to two responsible parents.”
He says that in cases of domestic violence, the situation is obviously different, but otherwise parents share equal responsibility. His stance is backed up by state law, which states that both parents in a divorce are awarded joint-custody and court-ordered full parental rights. Essentially, both parents have equal say in any significant decisions in the child’s future.
It is true that a majority of children live primarily with their mothers, but Alexander is quick to point out that that does not mean the mother is the primary caregiver; both parents are still equally responsible for decisions and responsibilities.
He is also quick to condemn those who seek to use their children as a bargaining chip during a divorce. In St. Johns County family court, it is customary for parents to have to undergo a 4-hour parenting course before any custody issues can be worked out, and if it seems that a parent has not learned anything from the endeavor, Judge John Alexander will send them right back to do it again.
His main message to parents is that raising a child is a shared responsibility, and the more the two ex-spouses can get on board and help each other out, the better the situation will be for everyone involved.
If you ever have any questions about child custody, or forming a plan that’s best for your child, please get in touch with a skilled family law attorney today. They will be able to help you and your loved ones set up the best possible future.