Child custody is one of the most difficult topics to tackle while going through the divorce process. In many cases, both parents want to be involved in the children’s everyday life. There may be circumstances, however, which lead the judge to place the children in the sole physical custody of one parent.
When making decisions involving child custody, it is important to keep the child’s best interests in mind. Yet, how does a judge determine what would be the best situation for the children?
Joint physical custody vs. sole physical custody
Physical custody is a term used to describe which parent the child will reside with and to what extent, according to Florida State Statutes. In a joint physical custody situation, the child would live with both parents for a predetermined amount of time, and switch between each parent’s residence. Sole custody, on the other hand, is awarded when the child is best suited to live primarily at one parent’s house and has scheduled visits with the non-custodial parent.
Factors to consider
Before the judge makes a final decision as to what type of custody is best for the child, he or she will often consider several factors, according to Very Well Family. These factors include the following:
- Age, physical health and mental health of each parent
- Relationship with the child and ability to provide a loving and stable life
- Living accommodations each parent can provide
- Presence of domestic violence, neglect or criminal activities
The judge will often take into account which parent spent the most time taking care of the children during the marriage as well. If children are of a certain age, the judge may ask them what type of situation they feel is best for them.
As life advances, circumstances may change and either parent may ask for a custody modification. It is important to create an environment where the child thrives and ease the transition from a traditional family to a single-parent household.