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Press Release

Determining child custody during a Florida divorce

Florida child custody is determined by a number of factors including age, health, special needs and living arrangements.
April 06, 2013 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Divorces where children are involved are tough for everyone. The goal once the divorce is finalized is for the children to have been as unaffected by the transition as possible. Unfortunately, parents sometimes are blinded by their anger or hurt at their spouse, leaving important considerations for the children undecided. In those cases, Florida family court judges have the knowledge, ability and discretion to decide child custody matters.
Family court judges in Florida are guided by statutory factors when making child custody determinations in conjunction with a divorce. Judges can essentially consider any factor that would materially affect the child or a parent's ability to act in the child's best interests, including:
- Age of parents and children
- Mental and physical health of parents and children
- Living situation
- Safety offered by proposed custody arrangement
- Religious preferences
- Financial ability to provide for the child's material needs
- Schooling (particularly if the child has special needs best served by a particular educational environment)
- Child's preexisting relationship with each parent
- Any domestic violence, drug use or substance abuse issues present in the family
These are not the only factors that the courts can consider, though, since family court judges are given broad discretion to make custody and support decisions that are in the "child's best interests," a purposefully vague term that helps encapsulate unique or abstract issues that could be important in a child's development.
Encouraging parental involvement with custody determinations
Florida courts realize that there are limitations on the ability of judges who make child custody determinations, since the court might be unaware of key issues specific to a particular family's case. That is why the court encourages parents - whether they are divorcing, separating or have decided to end a long-term, non-marital relationship - to collaborate and create their own parenting plans.
Oftentimes parents are more likely to act in accordance with the terms of an agreement if they had a hand in crafting it. This sort of collaborative, non-adversarial approach is also likely to reduce the amount of "friction" between the parties, thus making the transition easier on themselves and on their children.
Finding help
Are you involved in a divorce? Do you have questions about making the best choices for your children and yourself? Is a spirit of cooperation possible given the unique circumstances of your family? Regardless of whether your divorce/separation is contested or not, and whether your child custody and parenting time schedules can be decided quickly or will be protracted, an experienced Florida family law attorney can help guide you through the process, answer your questions and help present your case to the court in the most effective way possible.
Article provided by Tamara K. Holden PA
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