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Experienced Family Law Attorneys Explain Child Custody in Fort Lauderdale Florida

— December 8, 2021

Child custody matters are complicated during divorce proceedings, but spending time with children should not be adversely affected for either parent, or the children. 

Child custody is a serious life-changing event and it is imperative to hire an experienced Florida child custody lawyer at Curtis R. Cowan P.A. who knows how to achieve the best possible outcome for all members of the family as they move forward after a divorce.  Children can be left behind and suffer the consequences of an unstable living situation during and after a Florida divorce if child custody matters are not settled. 

Florida shared parenting

When parents decide to divorce in the State of Florida, they must decide when and how the children will have time to spend with each parent individually. The degree of emotion tied to child custody disputes is enormous and the final resolution will impact the future relationship with children for each parent, and cause disruptions to the stability of the children through changes to their:

  • living space(s), 
  • daily routine, 
  • emotional health, 
  • education, 
  • vacation schedules and 
  • extracurricular activities.  

Parental Visitation – a schedule to be decided upon in advance when shared custody is agreed upon and ordered by the court.

Children of divorce will have to learn to navigate different situations more frequently, where they will have variable outcomes, versus the constants that a previous two-parent household offered them.  

Florida law

Under Florida law, there is no preference to either parent, as they have shared parental responsibility for the children, unless there is some concern of harm to the children that makes the courts rule otherwise.  Florida child custody lawyers will work with parents to establish a schedule approved by the courts that reflects an amicable timesharing schedule between parents, so children have frequent and continuous contact with both of them.  A parent education and family stabilization course must be attended by both parties of the marriage before the divorce can be finalized and educates on parental behaviors and actions after the divorce to remind that children do not need to hear bad things about either parent as they go forward with shared parental duties.  

Unless the parents can come to an agreed upon schedule for time sharing, Florida Statutes 61.13 states that the timesharing schedule will be decided by the court in the best interests of the children, not either of the parents. Hiring skilled legal counsel will benefit divorcing parties, as emotions of the parents may not be in the best interests of “working together” and could end up damaging the livelihood of the children and negatively impact relationships between the children and their parents.  

Factors to consider

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Child Custody – custody that is in the best interests of the child taking into consideration a multitude of factors such as:

  • Child preference, if over 13 years of age or if an infant or small child that is more dependent on mother as primary care giver taking into consideration weaning and toilet training for instance.   
  • Parents preference if in agreement. If parents make a formal settlement agreement, child sharing will become part of that document whereby times and dates are spelled out, as well as restrictions on out of state or country travel for example.
  • Mental and physical health of parties.
  • Child’s community, school, and home environment.
  • Parental history of violence.
  • Relationship between child and each parent.

Seek family law counsel

Child custody matters are complicated during divorce proceedings, but spending time with children should not be adversely affected for either parent, or the children.  The best way to make sure the proper paperwork has been submitted regarding residency, child support and scheduling of visitation for the non-custodial parent if the parenting schedule is such that one parent is custodial and the other is not is by securing an attorney who is experienced in family law matters in Fort Lauderdale. The Law Offices of Curtis R. Cowan can provide detailed information regarding your child custody decisions during and after a divorce action.


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