Child custody may be one of the most difficult topics to negotiate during a Florida divorce. In some cases, you may be able to customize your own custody arrangement through mediation. Other situations, however, may rely on the court to determine what custody schedule is best for the children involved.
Understanding the types of child custody available, as well as the factors the court reviews when awarding custody can help to simplify the process. Not only will you know what questions to ask, but you can put yourself in a better position to obtain the outcome you desire.
Joint vs. sole physical custody
Studies show that children flourish when they are able to spend a significant amount of time with both their mother and father. This is not true in every case, however. The court may award sole physical custody when the child is best having a primary caretaker, and the non-custodial parent has a set visitation schedule. Joint physical custody is arranged when children are able to live both with their mother and father.
Factors to consider
Before the court makes a final decision regarding the custody arrangement, it may take into consideration certain factors and aspects of the family’s life and living situation, according to Florida state statutes. This will help them make the best decision possible. These factors include the following:
- Which parent acted as primary caretaker during the marriage
- The occupation and income of each parent
- The mental and physical health of each parent
- The parent’s ability to provide a healthy, safe and nurturing environment for the child
- Whether there was domestic violence
- Distance between parents
In some cases, the judge may ask the child for input on where he or she would prefer to live.
Once the court determines child custody, either parent may apply for modification if a major change in life circumstances takes place.