According to divorce and family laws in Florida, the courts determine child custody based on what would be in the best interests of the child. During the custody hearing, the court addresses both the physical and legal care of children involved in their parents’ divorce or separation.
The Process of Child Custody
Florida child custody laws incorporate a version of the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act, which is enacted if the parents live in different states.
The purpose of this law is to make sure the custody hearings are held in the home state of the child. This Florida law also states that if a child is taken out of Florida during any part of child custody proceedings, the parent can be considered in violation of the law.
How Does a Court Decide Custody in Florida?
A number of factors are considered by the court to finalize the child custody, including the following guidelines:
- The sense of responsibility and character of each parent.
- Whether a parent can meet the child’s needs and provide a stable home life.
- The length of time a child has lived in a stable home and the further need for stability.
- The amount of love and affection the child feels for each parent.
- The preference of the child (if the child is a suitable age and is able to inform the court of their desires).
- The willingness of each parent to maintain a loving relationship between the child and another parent.
- The physical and mental health of the child and both parents.
- The ability of the child to adjust to the new environment, including school, home, and community.
- The relationship of the child with all the extended family members.
- Any signs of domestic violence.
- The material needs of the child.
Florida law also states that both the parents must take a parenting course before their divorce is finalized.
Awarding Child Custody
Once the court has considered all the facts, the custody is awarded to the most suitable parent in the eyes of the court – regardless of their gender. It should be noted that Florida courts usually award sole or joint custody in these cases.
Joint custody, also known as parental responsibility, requires both parents to be able to make and approve the decisions regarding the child. This doesn’t necessarily mean that the child will have to spend an equal duration of time with both parents.
Also, one parent is named the primary custodian in the joint custody cases. This primary joint custodian gets the right to decide where the child will live, what school they will attend, and even the child’s doctor. The child will live with the primary custodian while the other parent will get the visitation rights.
There have been cases where the courts ordered a child to spend an equal duration of time with both parents who live in Florida. Since the child custody is equally split in these cases – with no primary joint custodian – it is not favored by the courts.
Once the court has awarded the custody, the judge signs the child custody papers which are filed with the court clerk. This final decision must be adhered to by the parents.
Leave Your Child Custody Case to An Experienced Attorney
Worried about your child custody case? Let The Law Offices of Patrick Cordero help. We will handle your family law case with the attention that it deserves! Call us today at (786) 460-3968 and schedule a consultation now!