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Everything You Need to Know About Child Custody Laws in Florida

— September 8, 2022

One thing to remember is that the courts always prefer joint custody.

US states have different laws regarding child custody, but if there’s one thing that judges in Florida appreciate is parent equality. They view parents as equal, so if one parent claims they want full custody of their children, that parent has to show and prove why that’s in the children’s best interest. So, if you’re from Florida and going through a divorce and custody case, this article is for you.

How is Child Custody Determined?

The majority of states define custody as legal and physical custody. Legal custody means that one parent is granted the authority to make decisions for their child (education, health care, religion, etc.), while physical custody refers to which parent the child will live with.

In Florida, custody laws work in favor of both parents, ensuring they remain active in their children’s lives. As a result, courts tend to prefer parenting plans that offer equal access for the child to both parents. If these laws seem confusing to you, you’ll need the help of qualified lawyers to help along the process.

Parents often share parental responsibility because they want each parent to have an equal say in significant matters that might impact their children’s lives. Additionally, a time-sharing plan is vital because it refers to when the child will spend time with each parent. 

If the parents disagree on these plans, the court can order a plan that’s in the child’s best interest. If you want to avoid this, you should immediately contact Jacksonville Custody Lawyers, and they will help you every step along the way, so you know what’s right and wrong.

When Does the Court Decide on Sole Custody?

Little boy with book looking surprised; image by Ben White, via
Little boy with book looking surprised; image by Ben White, via

A judge may award sole custody to one parent under certain circumstances. For example, the mother might be granted sole custody if she has evidence that:

  • The father has a substance abuse problem that impacts his ability to care for the child
  • The father is living with someone who could potentially hurt or threaten the child
  • The father has psychological problems
  • The father hasn’t been a part of the child’s life until recently
  • The father doesn’t have a safe and stable home for the child
  • There are allegations of neglect 
  • There are allegations or a history of domestic violence and child abuse

Additionally, based on the facts and situation, the court may also grant the mother sole physical custody. Not only that, but the court can also decide on limited visitation or supervised visitation with the father. If the father poses no threat or harm, the court can also grant him liberal visitation, while the mother has sole responsibility. 

One thing to remember is that the courts always prefer joint custody. However, the parents must have evidence that it’s in the child’s best interest for the other parent not to have a say in their child’s life. If one of the parents wants to seek sole custody, but they’re still in the divorce process they might need to talk to Jacksonville Divorce Lawyers first to see where they stand in their divorce case before moving on to the custody battle. 

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