Child Custody Decisions in Florida

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 How is Child Custody Defined in Florida?

The Florida regulations follow the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act.

Specifically, “The court shall determine all matters relating to child custody of each minor child of the parties per the best interests of the child and following the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act.”

Furthermore, Florida law states that the goal of child custody is frequent contact with the child for both parents. Therefore, every attempt is made for parents to share responsibility. Florida courts mandate all divorcing parents with minor children complete a necessary parenting class before granting a divorce. This requirement is designed to assist parents and children deal with the trauma of divorce and separation.

Moreover, unless the court grants a waiver, both parents must complete this requirement. Rather than giving up an afternoon or evening taking your course in a crowded classroom, you can fulfill this requirement conveniently online at a reasonable cost. We recommend you take the course online to fulfill your court requirement and for the benefit of your children.

What do the Florida Courts Focus on In Child Custody Cases?

In child custody decisions, Florida courts focus on the best interest of the children. The court decides custody issues on what it believes the child mandates, not on what the parents desire. Courts can examine any factor that affects the health and well-being of a child and make rulings to ensure the child’s best interests.

Furthermore, Florida law establishes two kinds of child custody, legal and physical. Legal custody is the right for a parent or guardian to make decisions about how the child is raised, for instance, the kind of education the child receives, the religion he or she has, and the health care he or she receives.

Physical custody determines where the child resides. Courts can grant physical custody to one parent or another, or decide whether parents should share such custody. Even if courts decide to award sole physical custody to one party, that does not mean the other parent is precluded from legal custody or child visitation.

Rotating custody occurs when children spend equal amounts of time with both parents. Rotating physical custody is mostly unique to Florida child custody laws. This type of custody is exactly what it sounds like. The physical and legal custody is rotated between co-parents. Rotating physical custody also requires that each parent play the role of the custodial parent for six months on an annual basis. Florida courts do not encourage this routine because it is not believed to be in the best interest of children.

Moreover, Florida child custody laws and courts prioritize the best interests of the children involved before the interests of the co-parents. Aside from the child custody laws determined by the state, this is a significant factor in determining who will be awarded custody and what type of custody will be granted.

Additionally, Florida child custody laws provide for several different types of physical child custody within the state. Legal custody is also determined at the time physical custody is. Legal custody refers to one parent having the right to make decisions for the child (sole legal custody) or both parents being included in the decision-making process (joint legal custody).

Sole physical custody in Florida does not differ from other U.S states. Sole physical custody is defined as one co-parent acting as the primary residence for the children involved. The other co-parent is generally granted visitation rights but the amount of visitation will be determined by a decision from the court. Sole physical custody can be paired with either sole or joint legal custody.

Furthermore, Joint physical custody in Florida also does not greatly differ from other U.S. states. Joint physical custody means when both co-parents act as the child’s primary residence and care providers. The term visitation is less commonly used when referring to joint physical custody because both co-parents are seen as custodial parents. It can be paired with either sole or joint legal custody also.

The courts also create a joint custody calendar in this situation to easily determine how custody will be divided. In most states, custody does not need to be divided 50/50; the only requirement is that a significant amount of time is spent with both co-parents. Additionally, Florida has an additional custody agreement, which facilitates a 50/50 split.

What are the Parenting Plans in Florida?

Parents must draft a parenting plan wherever child custody is considered an issue. These plans spell out the terms and conditions of shared parenting. Usually, courts are reluctant to grant sole physical or legal custody to either parent unless a majority of factors are present. The preference to allow both parents visitation and custody rights implies that the parenting plan will not provide for sole custody.

After the Florida child custody laws and the welfare of the child are considered, the court will examine a few other factors to help determine the type of child custody plan that will be enforced. These factors are not specific to Florida child custody laws; they are common to almost all family court systems. These factors include but are not limited to the age of the child, the geographical distance between the co-parents, the child’s preferences, and the relationship between the child and each co-parent.

Furthermore, when a final custody and visitation agreement is reached there are many tools that you can utilize to easily organize your parenting plan and help facilitate communication between you and your co-parent. After a divorce, you may notice that conflict between you and your co-parent is not easy to manage. After consulting an attorney about Florida child custody laws, inquire about your rights and responsibilities as a co-parent after finalizing your custody agreement.

Is there a Set List of Factors for Determining Child Custody in the State of Florida?

Florida has a list of statutory factors that are considered by the court when determining a custody order. This list may include factors such as the child’s age, the living situation of each parent, and any history of abuse or neglect from either parent as mentioned earlier. Although there is a statutory list of factors, judges consider other factors at their discretion depending on the particular circumstances of the case.

Moreover, judges in Florida are authorized to order either joint or single-parent custody of a child subject to a custody dispute. Courts in Florida are presumed to typically favor custody orders granting joint custody between both parents where possible. However, the judge will evaluate each case individually when determining whether joint custody is in the best interests of the child.

When Do I Need to Contact a Lawyer?

If you reside in Florida and are dealing with child custody issues do not hesitate to contact your Florida child custody attorney in your area to guide you in your situation. Family laws are complex, but a lawyer can help explain your rights and options to you.

Your attorney can provide you with the legal advice, guidance, and representation needed to complete the process from start to finish. They can also keep you updated regarding any new changes to the law that might affect the outcome of your case.

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