When you, and other Florida couples, are going through a divorce, there are a number of issues that must be settled. If you are a parent, one of the most challenging of these may be your child custody arrangement. At Sparkman Law, we know that both parents generally want what is best for their children, but often disagree about what that is. Consequently, child custody determinations frequently fall to the court. In this post, we will discuss how child custody is decided in the state of Florida.
With few exceptions, it is important for children to have a relationship with both of their parents. As such, Florida state law dictates that both parents should share the joys, rights and responsibilities of raising their children. Therefore, shared parenting agreements are encouraged in most cases. Through this type of arrangement, you and your child’s other parent will time-share with your child. Further, you will both still be involved in making decisions regarding your child’s upbringing, health, education and other important issues.
In order to decide if shared parenting is appropriate in you case, the court will consider a number of factors. The judge will then make his or her determination based on what is in your child’s best interests. Under state law, the factors the court may take into account include the following:
- The moral fitness, mental health and physical health of both parents
- Each parent’s willingness to communicate with the child’s other parent
- The child’s home, community and school record
- Each parent’s willingness to encourage a continuing parent-child relationship
- The child’s developmental needs
- The past and anticipated division of parental responsibilities
Additionally, the court may consider the wishes of the parents and the child when determining child custody agreements. A history of domestic violence, child abuse or neglect, sexual violence or child abandonment may also be taken into account.
For more information about child custody agreements in Florida, please visit our What Is the Best Interests of the Child page.