A woman holding her daughter

Determining Child Custody in Florida

A Difficult Issue in Any Divorce With Children

If you have children and are preparing to go through a divorce, determining child custody is one of the most key issues that must be resolved in Florida. There are different types of child custody in Florida, and the factors that determine these agreements can be complex. It is crucial to work with an experienced child custody attorney who can advocate for what is best for your children.

Types of Child Custody in Florida

There are two primary types of child custody in Florida: physical and legal. Physical custody refers to where the child lives, and legal custody refers to which parent gets the ability to make decisions about the child's welfare.

Within these types of custody are two subtypes of custody: joint and sole. Joint physical custody gives each parent equal time with the child, while sole physical custody gives one parent control over the child's residence and most of the time with the child. Joint legal custody gives both parents a say in decisions about the child, while sole legal custody gives one parent the final say.

Child Custody Factors in Florida

The court will consider many important factors when determining which type of custody is best for the child, including:

  • The age and health of the child.

  • The relationship between the parents.

  • The work schedule of each parent.

  • The ability of each parent to provide a stable home environment.

  • The child's preference, if the child is old enough to express a preference.

  • Any history of domestic violence or abuse.

Ultimately, any child custody decision made will be the decision that serves the best interests of the child.

Visitation in Florida

If one parent is awarded sole physical custody of the child, the other parent will typically be given visitation rights. The court may order supervised visitation if there is a history of domestic violence or abuse or if the non-custodial parent has a substance abuse problem. If the parents live close to each other, the court may order liberal visitation, which means that the non-custodial parent can frequently visit the child. The court may also order specific times and days for visitation, such as every weekend from Friday evening to Sunday evening.

What If the Parents Can't Agree on Custody?

The courts prefer to let parents try and work on creating a parenting plan and resolving child custody on their own. However, if the parents cannot agree on custody, the court will make the final determination after reviewing the abovementioned factors and other relevant factors.

Work with a Child Custody Attorney

If you have children and are preparing for divorce, it is important to understand how child custody works in Florida. By understanding the types of custody and the factors used to determine custody, you can be prepared for what to expect during the divorce process.

This is a general overview of child custody in Florida. If you have specific questions, speak with a family law attorney who understands how the law applies to your situation. They can also help you negotiate a custody agreement with your spouse or partner, and can represent you in court if necessary.

If you have questions about child custody in Florida or need assistance with a case, know that the team at Schipani, Norman & McLain, P.A. is here to help. We always put the child's needs first and work to achieve a solution that meets your and your child's needs.

Learn more about child custody in Florida or schedule a consultation by calling (941) 499-8154 or by visiting our website.