Child custody is often one of the most contentious issues spouses fight over during their divorce. Of course, child custody matters can arise outside of the context of divorce and be just as divisive. What this says is that parents are often very unwilling to relinquish custody of their children and often seek as much of it as possible.
Because child custody is such a hot topic, a lot of questions about it and how it works often swirl in people’s minds – especially if they’ve never had to think about it before. If you’re just getting acquainted with child custody matters in Florida, be sure to check out some of the answers to commonly asked questions below.
How Does the Court Determine Child Custody?
In Florida, a judge’s decisions are guided by what he or she believes is in the best interests of a child. This means that when a ruling is issued, it’s the judge’s opinion of what would be most beneficial to a child and is not intended to reward or punish either parent.
What Does the Court Consider to Be in a Child’s Best Interests?
When determining what’s in the best interests of a child, courts will consider a variety of factors. Among these factors are each parent’s ability to provide safe and healthy living conditions and put the child’s needs before their own. Parents must also be actively involved in the child’s life and provide comfort and love.
Why Do Moms Always Get Child Custody?
They don’t. When spouses are divorcing, the court doesn’t take the sex of either parent into account. This means a father and mother can be award joint custody, or either parent can be awarded sole custody.
An exception may be that unmarried mothers are granted sole custody by default. If an unmarried father wants child custody in this case, he must legally establish his paternity and fight for custody rights in court.
What Is Time-Sharing?
When a court rules that parents should share responsibilities, they must work out a time-sharing schedule. This is a plan that outlines how and when a child’s needs will be provided for. It can include details about how a child gets to and from school, who takes the child to the doctor, etc.
If parents are unable to agree to details concerning this plan, a judge may decide for them.
Can I Move Away If I Have Physical Custody?
Local moves may not affect a physical custody, but moving regions or out of state will. If you wish to move at all, though, you must inform the court and have your relocation approved by a judge. Your child’s other parent will also have an opportunity to weigh in on the move and whether or not they believe it’s appropriate. Ultimately, though, a judge will decide whether or not the move is in the child’s best interests.
Can I Get Custody of a Child If I’m Not Their Parent?
Biological parents are generally favored for child custody arrangements. Sometimes, though, people who aren’t biological parents can get custody. These individuals can include grandparents and stepparents, but custody is only possible if both of a child’s biological parents are dead or have had their parental rights terminated.