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Child Custody

Each state has unique laws pertaining to child custody. In Florida, custody is determined by the courts based on what’s in the best interest of the child as stated in the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act. These laws take into consideration the physical care of children whose parents are divorcing, as well as those who were never married.

Child Custody Basics

Child custody references the care for, control of, and maintenance of a person under the age of 18. A parent with legal custody is able to make decisions on education, religion, and medical needs. A judge will also determine which party receives physical custody in order to establish where the minor will live.

There are two types of child custody arrangements in Florida. Sole custody gives one parent total control, whereas joint custody splits it between the two.

Joint custody is also known as shared parental responsibility in Florida, and it requires both parents to agree on decisions related to the child. In this situation, one parent is named as the primary joint custodian, so the child has a permanent address, school, and designated primary care physician. The other parent is granted visitation rights.

When awarding custody, courts consider a number of factors, including:

  • Character and sense of responsibility of each parent
  • Each parent’s ability to provide a stable home
  • The wants of the child, if they are of an adequate age to inform the courts
  • The child’s need for stability in the home
  • Mental and physical health of both parents and the child
  • Material needs of the child
  • Any evidence or history of domestic violence

It is common for a parent to be able to visit his or her child at a mutually agreed upon time. If no agreement is reached, the child may see a parent every other weekend, four to six weeks over summer break, and alternating holidays.

Divorce isn’t easy, and determining child custody can be incredibly stressful. Let the team at BCN Law Firm help. Call us today at (352) 775-4739 for a free consultation* to discuss any questions.