Going through a divorce is always challenging, but it is especially so for parents. When parents can’t agree on a child custody arrangement, Florida courts will do so on their behalf. That said, you may wonder how courts determine these arrangements. Please continue reading and reach out to our skilled Tampa child custody lawyers to learn more about how custody is determined in Florida and how our legal team can help protect your family. Here are some of the questions you may have:

What Factors Do Courts Consider in Florida Child Custody Cases?

Florida courts consider a variety of factors to ensure that the child’s best interests are met. One of the primary considerations is the emotional ties between the child and each parent. Courts will look at the love, affection, and other emotional connections that exist. The stability of each parent’s home environment also plays a critical role. A stable and secure living situation is crucial for the child’s development and well-being.

Another factor is each parent’s ability to provide for the child’s needs. This includes not only financial support but also the ability to provide a nurturing environment. The mental and physical health of each parent is considered, as well as their moral fitness.

Florida courts also take into account the child’s school, home, and community record. If the child is old enough, their preferences may be considered, though this is not the sole deciding factor.

How Does Shared Parental Responsibility Work?

Florida courts typically favor shared parental responsibility unless it is not in the best interests of the child. Shared parental responsibility means that both parents retain full parental rights and responsibilities and must confer with each other to make major decisions affecting the child’s welfare. This approach is designed to encourage both parents to remain actively involved in their child’s life.

However, there are instances where shared responsibility may not be suitable. If there is evidence of domestic violence, child abuse, or substance abuse, the court may award sole parental responsibility to one parent. In such cases, the court’s primary concern is the safety and well-being of the child. It is essential for parents to provide evidence and documentation if they believe shared parental responsibility is not in their child’s best interests.

Can a Parenting Plan Be Modified?

Yes, parenting plans can be modified in Florida, but there must be a substantial, material, and unanticipated change in circumstances. The parent seeking modification must demonstrate that the change is in the best interests of the child. Common reasons for modifying a parenting plan include relocation, changes in the child’s needs, or significant changes in a parent’s situation, such as job loss or remarriage.

Modifying a parenting plan involves going back to court and providing evidence to support the requested changes. It is often beneficial to work with a child custody lawyer who can guide parents through the legal process and help present a strong case. The court will review the evidence and determine if the modification is justified based on the child’s best interests.

If you have further questions about child custody in Florida or require the services of a seasoned family law firm, please don’t hesitate to contact Tampa Law Group today.