Florida Family Courts and Determining What’s Best for Kids
Building a parenting plan means reviewing a lot of details surrounding parental responsibility, and when drafting these documents you and your co-parent need to be sure that your plans are in line with what is viewed as acceptable by Florida family courts. Family courts prioritize the well-being and best interests of the children when making decisions about custody and visitation arrangements.
Hiring a West Palm Beach family attorney is a way to connect with knowledge about factors courts consider.
Key Factors Considered by Florida Family Courts
There is a standard of what is in a child’s best interests, and it provides Florida courts with a framework for evaluation. Then, they can review a divorce agreement and approve the terms or, in the case of a contentious divorce, make decisions that serve the children’s physical, emotional, and developmental needs.
- Parental ability. Each parent’s ability to provide a stable and nurturing environment will be reviewed. This could include assessments of a parent’s mental and physical health, financial stability, and living conditions.
- Child’s involvement in the community. Disrupting a child’s established routines and environment is disruptive, so Florida family courts consider the child’s adjustment to their home, school, and community when determining custody arrangements.
- Co-Parenting skills. Ideally, co-parents will be able to facilitate and encourage a positive relationship between the child and the other parent. Co-parent cooperation, engaging in effective communication, and supporting the child’s relationship with both parents will be reviewed.
- Domestic violence or substance abuse concerns. If a situation involves a history of domestic violence or substance abuse it will significantly impact custody decisions. The parent with a demonstrated history will often have limited or restricted parental rights.
- Health of the parents. Because a parent’s ability to provide a supportive and healthy environment is connected to their own mental and physical health, the health of each parent will be looked into.
- Preferences of kids, in some situations. Depending on the child’s age and maturity, their own personal preferences may be considered. It will not be the sole determining factor, but a Florida court may take the child’s wishes into account.
Maintaining stability for kids is top of mind when all of the factors are being reviewed. A stable environment is often seen by the courts as crucial for a child’s well-being.
Frequent and Continual Contact
When possible, courts seek to ensure that kids have regular contact with both parents, unless it is contrary to the child’s best interests. To discuss the possibility of joint custody or if you are moving toward positioning yourself as the custodial parent, talk to a West Palm Beach family attorney.
Could you use advice on how a Florida family court would approach custody given the details of your situation? Seeking guidance from the knowledgeable attorneys at Bruce S. Rosenwater & Associates means you will have an expert advocating for you throughout the divorce process, including drafting a custody agreement that aligns with what you want and a court’s view of a child’s best interests. Schedule your free initial consultation today.