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What is considered in a Florida child custody case?

Florida makes a great setting for romances. Unfortunately, some of these relationships end in a battle when those involved are unable to settle their disagreements. When children are in the middle of these feuds, parents must try to move past their differences to determine who will take care of the kids. When parents can't come to an agreement, they often consider going to court to ask a judge to decide for them how child custody will be divided between the two parents. 

Joint custody gives both parents custodial rights, meaning that there is no noncustodial parent. Sometimes, arrangements will be made for the parents to share parenting time as equally as possible. It is also possible for the court, in awarding joint custody, to designate one parent as having primary physical custody, meaning that the child or children will live primarily with that parent and the other parent will be given liberal visitation. In other cases, the court may award sole custody to one parent, designating visitation rights for the other parent. Finally, in certain cases, the court may limit a parent to supervised visitation or deny all visitation, usually in circumstances involving drug addiction, abuse or neglect. 

A judge will use many factors to make a child custody determination that suits all parties involved. Courts typically consider the opinion of the mother and father and, in certain limited circumstances, the child. An important consideration is how likely a particular parent is to provide and maintain a stable, loving environment while tending to the child's daily needs. Any history of drug addiction or physical abuse may impact the court's decision. 

A custody battle can be a lengthy, emotionally draining process. A family law attorney is typically a very valuable asset to have in these cases. A lawyer may be able to help ease some of the stress associated with a Florida child custody case and provide effective representation in court. 

Source: FindLaw, "Florida Child Custody Laws", Accessed on Oct. 4, 2017

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