child upset in front of fighting parents

Everything You Need to Know About Florida’s Child Custody Guidelines

Many factors come into play in a custody case, and you're now concerned about how your case will play out. As you consider your custody case in Florida, it's wise to learn about some of the guidelines which might impact the outcome.

"Custody" Is No Longer Used

Florida does not use the term "custody," and there are no primary or secondary residential parents designations in state law. Instead, both parents receive time-sharing with their children. The court will look for a time-sharing schedule that is in the "best interests of the children."

What Is in the Best Interests of Your Child?

To determine what is in the best interests of a child, the court will consider several factors, including:

  • The physical and mental health of each parent;

  • Religious and cultural matters;

  • The wishes of a child, if they are viewed as old or mature enough;

  • The support of other family members;

  • The child's relationship with other household members, such as siblings;

  • Any domestic violence patterns with the parents;

  • The stability of the home environment, and

  • Evidence of drug, alcohol, or child abuse.

If you and your co-parent can't reach an agreement on the sharing of parental responsibilities, a Florida judge will make those decisions for you. The judge generally will not label one parent as "good" and the other "bad," except in cases with extreme circumstances. Instead, they will weigh several different factors when deciding the sharing of parental responsibilities, such as:

  • Which parent is more likely to let the child have frequent and continuing contact with the other parent;

  • Which parent can provide a more stable environment at home;

  • Which parent can provide the necessities, such as medical care, food, and clothing;

  • The job security of each parent;

  • The job schedules and work requirements of each parent;

  • The emotional bond between the child and each parent

  • The child's home, school and community history;

  • The parenting tasks each parent usually handles;

  • Each parent's ability to provide a consistent schedule for the child, and

  • Any evidence of child neglect, child abuse, or domestic violence.

What You Can Do

To ensure you will receive as much time with your child as possible, there are some steps you can take. While it can be tough to do some of these things during a divorce or breakup, it's necessary.

Remain involved in your children's lives, including medical care, education, and extracurricular activities. Promote their relationship with your co-parent and be flexible about time-sharing when you can. Have provisions for your child in your own home, including sleeping accommodations, toys, health products, and clothes.

Do not cancel any scheduled time-sharing unless it's absolutely necessary. You need to develop and maintain a routine with your children when you have them for their homework, free time, dinner, and bedtime.

We're Here to Help

It's not hard to understand why custody cases bring many different emotions and added levels of stress. You naturally want to ensure the health, safety, and happiness of your children. At the same time, you need to preserve and protect your parental relationship with them.

Contact the experienced team at Autumn Beck Blackledge, PLLC for assistance today. We understand how important your custody case is, and we will work to ensure you receive the time you need for a continued and strong relationship with your children.

Call us today at (850) 404-7263 for more information about your options.