If parents can't come to an agreement courts in Florida make custody decisions based on what is in the "best interest" of the child. The court will presume joint responsibility unless it finds that this would be harmful to the child. The court may also give one of the parents the ultimate responsibility over specific aspects of the child's welfare, such as primary residence, education and medical care.
What Does the Court Consider when Assigning Primary Residence?
The court will consider the following factors when deciding where the child should live:
- The emotional ties between the parents and the child
- The ability of each parent to provide food, clothing, medical care and other material needs for the child
- The moral fitness of the parents
- If the child has lived in a stable environment and how long this has been to try to ensure continuity
- The permanence of the existing or proposed permanent home
- The willingness to encourage the child's relationship with the other parent
- The home, school and community record of the child
- The wishes of the child if he/she is mature enough to express it
- Evidence of domestic violence or child abuse
What Happens when the Court Has Made a Decision?
The custody order is signed by the judge and then filed with the court clerk. Both parents are bound by the courts decision. If any of the parents doesn't follow the custody order the other parent may bring the issue before the judge who can modify it.
Should I Contact a Lawyer Regarding my Custody Issues?
It will be vital if you have concerns about who will make decisions for you child that you get a good attorney to help persuade the court what the right arrangement is for your child. A good family law attorney in Florida will help you do this.