Florida Custody Laws
In Florida courts the custody of a child is determined by what’s good for the child in the long term. To know what is in the child’s best interests a court in Florida might look into several factors and then decide on the verdict.
Types of custody
Florida courts can decide on a sole custody arrangement for the child or go for joint custody. Under sole custody only one parent is given rights by the court to take decisions on the child’s behalf and also allow the child to live under that parent’s roof and care. In such cases the other parent gets visitation rights and the guidelines of the visitation rights are also decided by the court with due consideration of all factors. In Florida courts visitation is referred to as time-sharing.
In some cases a Florida court can also rule to grant no visitation rights to a parent. This can be if the court rules that the parent is not fit to be with the child or care for the child or in case of any violent behavior or drug use. In cases of joint custody arrangement both parents get custody of the child. But here one parent gets primary custody and the other gets time-sharing rights. This is done to ensure the child grows up in a stable environment and doesn’t have to change residence and school due to custody arrangements.
Factors determining child custody
Several factors come into play while determine a child custody situation by a Florida court.
- Parents’ wish and capacity to care for the child and work towards their child’s welfare.
- The physical health of the parents to determine if they are able to take proper care of their child.
- The emotional and mental states of the parents.
- The financial health of each parent.
- The level of involvement of each parent in the welfare of the child.
- Each parent’s involvement in the child’s education and school activities.
- In some cases, given the child is of a certain age, the child’s wish to live with a parent is also considered while determining the custody.
Modification of custody
Florida courts allow modification of the custody if there are changes in the circumstances that determined the custody the first time. These can be change in financial situation of one or both parents or any other issue such as health of a parent or any other. To do so parents can file a petition in the court stating their desire and the reasons for the same.
In cases of joint custody financial situation of both parents are considered and a plan is drawn for the welfare of the child. The earnings of the parents as well as other children in the marriage are some of the factors the court looks into to decide on the child support. Florida courts also allow modification of child support at a later date if financial or other situation of one or both parents change.
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