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  • Dr. Liliana Wolf

What Parents Need to Know About Child Custody Laws in Florida

While divorce is never easy, it is especially difficult when children are involved.

While the laws in each state might vary when it comes to divorcing with children, the goal of each state is the same, and that is to do what is best for the child above all else. This blog post will explain how Florida approaches child custody matters when parents decide to divorce.

Types of Custody in Florida

In Florida, there are two main types of custody: legal custody and physical custody.

Legal custody - This type of custody gives someone the right to make important decisions on behalf of the child related to education, healthcare, religion, and more.

Physical custody - This type of custody refers to where the child will physically live.

What is the Difference Between Sole Custody & Joint Custody?

If the parents have joint legal custody, then they will share the decision-making authority. If one parent has sole legal custody, then that parent has the final say on these matters.

Regarding physical custody, either the parents will have shared physical custody and the child will split the time where they live or one parent will have primary physical custody while the other parent might be given visitation rights.

What is Visitation?

Visitation refers to the time that the parent without physical custody gets to spend with the child. Visitation can also be given to grandparents and relatives, but those issues are less clear-cut. Oftentimes, if one parent has primary physical custody, then the other parent will have visitation rights so long as it is beneficial for the child.

How Do Courts Decide Custody in Florida?

The courts use the “best interests of the child” as the main factor for deciding custody rights. Determining the best interest of the child is not always straightforward, but in an effort to do so the courts will consider the following:

  • The child's relationship with both parents

  • Each parent's ability to provide for the child's needs

  • Each parent's health (mental and physical)

  • The child's preference (depending on the child’s age)

  • Each parent's willingness to encourage a relationship between the child and the other parent

  • Any history of domestic violence or abuse with either parent

  • The child's school and community record

  • Each parent's work schedule and availability

Is it Possible to Get Full Custody?

In Florida, the courts won’t give preference to the father or the mother when deciding custody matters. Whatever is in the best interests of the child will lead them to their decision. It is generally best for children to have both mother and father actively involved in their life. However, if you can convince the courts that it’s in the child’s best interests for you to have full custody, then you’ll get it.

How to File for Child Custody in Florida

In Florida, the custody process starts when one parent files a petition for custody. The other parent can then choose to agree or contest the proposed custody arrangement. If the parents can’t agree, then the court will decide. At a scheduled hearing, both parents will present evidence and arguments for their preferred custody arrangement. The courts might also require mediation to help the parents come to an agreement.

As stated before, the Florida courts prefer that both parents remain in the child’s life and ideally the custody agreements would be designed to maximize the child’s time with both parents.

There are some instances where the court will appoint a guardian ad litem. This is an independent party who will investigate the child's best interests and make a recommendation to the court.

Additionally, Florida requires that divorcing parents take a court-approved parenting class in order to help them navigate the divorce process with their children. Dr. Liliana Wolf’s online parenting class is a tremendous resource for divorcing parents. It is also court-approved and 100% online!

Modifying Child Custody Agreements in Florida

If there is a substantial change of circumstances, then a parent can request for a modification to the child custody agreement. Again, the parent requesting modification must be able to prove that such a change is in the best interest of the child.

Resource for Divorcing Parents in Florida

Child custody is a complex issue that must be carefully considered in any divorce. Dr. Liliana Wolf can help you navigate divorce process while protecting your children every step of the way.

On a practical level, her course will give you the following:

  • Instant certificate to submit to the court

  • 100% online video course

  • 30-day money-back guarantee

  • 4-hour course to watch at your own pace

  • Guaranteed Florida-court acceptance

Even better though, her class will allow you to:

  • Work with an experienced licensed clinician at an affordable price

  • Build and maintain a positive co-parenting alliance

  • Emerge from your divorce stronger and more resilient

  • Understand science-based education on family stabilization

If you are navigating child custody matters in Florida, don’t hesitate to take Dr. Liliana Wolf’s online parenting class. Learn more today!

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