When parents get divorced, the order will specify in detail who the children will live with and when the non-custodial parent will have visitation rights. In most cases, parents discuss and set up these arrangements between themselves, either voluntarily or with the assistance of their attorneys or a mediator.

When they’re unable to reach an outcome, the court may step in and make a decision based on the child’s best interests. However, many parents may not know that their child custody rights can be revoked by a court if they cannot properly care for their child.

In a recent case, a Florida court took a 3-year-old child away from his parents and placed him with his maternal grandparents. Reportedly, the parents disagreed with doctors regarding the child’s chemotherapy and wanted to use alternative treatment. A court order was issued for the child’s chemotherapy and an appointment was set. However, the parents took the child out of state in search of alternative treatments ignoring the court-ordered appointment. Florida law allows the state the right to provide emergency medical care to minors even if the parents disagree.

In child custody cases, the court carefully examines both parties’ abilities to care for the child. Parents may be allowed visitation rights, depending on their behavior, but both parents must aim to provide for the best interests of the children. In any event, parents can make sure their parental rights are protected and ensure the best outcome for their children by discussing their case with an experienced child custody attorney.