Every year, thousands of people file for divorce in Florida. It is common for spouses to wait until the beginning of the new year to file because they want to keep the family together until the holidays are over. In many cases, however, there is no need to wait if circumstances are especially dire.

For example, substance abuse could be grounds for an immediate breakup. However, such an issue can be difficult to prove in court if there has not been an arrest for drunk driving or possession of an illegal substance. In one 2017 case, a judge decided that there was insufficient proof that a father drank in the presence of his children even though he drank nightly.

If there is substantial proof that a parent is endangering the welfare of a minor, the other parent may be able to file a petition for emergency custody. This may be a good idea if a parent is driving while impaired with a child in the vehicle and there is sufficient proof of the allegation. The parent who wants custody may need a neutral witness who can substantiate the claim.

It is a good idea for parents who are separated and believe that a divorce is inevitable to write down a record of everything they do that has to do with the wellbeing of their children. This may include taking a child to the doctor and attending parent-teacher conferences.

An attorney experienced in family law and divorce litigation may be able to help with child custody disputes. Ex-spouses who are able to get along well enough to discuss issues like scheduling, discipline and who will pay for extracurricular activities may benefit from creating parenting plans for their children. If necessary, a lawyer could help with the negotiation process.