During divorce proceedings, child custody is the most important issue for courts. Custody law requires lawmakers to prioritize the wellbeing of the child and place them with the parent best suited to provide that care.
Courts consider several factors when making these decisions. A judge may be more willing to grant custody to a parent who provides comprehensive care and attention to the children.
Four elements to awarding custody
During custody battles, courts evaluate each parent on how they provide for their children. The parent who can provide the best environment to raise a healthy and happy child stands a better chance of winning custody. Courts focus on the “best interests of the child” when evaluating the following factors:
- Schools the children have attended
- Parents’ mental and physical wellbeing
- Parents’ criminal records or a history of domestic violence
- The permanence of the proposed home
- Child stability during the transition
- Parents’ ability to provide for the children and address their developmental needs
- Whether parents are accommodating and reasonable with each other and court-ordered changes
- Parents’ involvement with children’s friends, teachers, coaches, etc.
- Proposed division of parental abilities and the involvement of other caretakers
- Evidence of love and an invested relationship between parent and child
Florida courts have the right to divide custody as they see fit. Courts see arrangements involving both parents as best for the children but may rule otherwise. The court may determine one parent can make educational decisions for the children while the other makes healthcare decisions. Courts can even find that the children’s best interests are with the grandparents or another guardian entirely.
Bring questions to a lawyer
Florida parents entering a custody battle have more success hiring a local attorney familiar with Florida custody law. Florida’s child custody process can intimidate and confuse those unfamiliar with the law. A lawyer can help bring clarity to a judge’s decisions and provide context for providing the care a court requires.