You want your child to have the support they need to thrive throughout their life. However, disagreements about what arrangement will provide your child with that support can lead to significant conflict in divorce. How do Florida courts determine which custody arrangement will provide your child with the loving home they need?
What is in “the best interests” of a child?
Florida law lists
a wide variety of different details that can impact a child’s mental, physical and social wellbeing. These factors all inform what is in your child’s best interest, and include:
The ability of both parents to uphold parental responsibilities including your ability to meet the child’s developmental needs
The ability of both parents to remain well-informed about the child’s life
The ability of both parents to provide a consistent and stable home life
Each parent’s past responsibilities and participation in the child’s life
Your ability to work together to co-parent, including how viable transportation is between homes
Both parents’ mental health, physical fitness and moral fitness
Your child’s wishes if they are mature enough to express a reasonable preference
Your child’s relationships to family, friends and others in their current community
Your child’s needs for healthcare and education
Any evidence of mistreatment, including abuse or neglect
In addition to these details, the court may also consider other factors that appear relevant in each individual case.
With so many factors at play, determining what is in your child’s best interest can be a complex matter. Thankfully, parents can offer insight into their child’s daily needs and work toward a fair arrangement that supports both their child and their parental rights.