Determining the Best Interests of the Child in Florida

A divorce can be extremely stressful on children. Divorce courts in Florida take this into consideration in every case, leading them to consider what is in the best interest of the child in their custody decisions. There are several factors that go into determining the best interest of the child and this article will cover each of the factors considered by Florida judges.

Health and safety in child custody decisions

The state of Florida is always in favor of shared custody, unless the court finds that this situation would be detrimental to the child. If there is any evidence of violence, abuse, abandonment or neglect by one of the parents, that parent will lose custody and visitation rights. A court will also assess the parent’s’ mental and physical health or any evidence of a parent’s substance abuse before coming to a decision.

Emotional and developmental needs in Florida child custody

children going through child custody case in floridaIn determining the best interests of the child, a judge expects both parents to put their child’s needs above their own. The court will assess each parent’s abilities to meet a child’s developmental needs and their ability to be involved in the child’s life. They may test whether the parents know their child’s friends, teachers and medical care providers. The judge will also consider whether the parents are both able to provide a daily routine for the child and allow them to participate in extracurricular activities.

Co-parenting and communication skills in custody decisions

The court assesses the parent’s’ ability to maintain a positive relationship, honor parenting schedules and make responsible changes in the schedule if needed. Parents must be able to communicate and keeps each other informed on the child’s activities and issues.

Moral fitness in Florida child custody decisions

The court looks at both parent’s moral fitness. This usually means if they abuse substances, have relationships with more than one partner, are verbally abusive or involved in any illegal activities.
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