When Florida parents decide to divorce or end their personal relationship, one major priority is often ensuring that their relationship with their children is not a casualty of that same choice. This means that child custody issues can be among the most contentious aspects of the end of a marriage, particularly when both parents have been active in their children’s’ lives. In making decisions about child custody, family courts have a responsibility to prioritize the best interests of the children on multiple levels, including economic stability, health and education.
In some cases, it may be possible for the parents to put aside their personal differences and develop a mutually agreeable joint custody agreement as part of divorce negotiations. A joint custody solution can involve agreeing on a parenting plan. However, in many cases, the relationship between the parents is too frayed to come to an agreement on child custody, and the matter must be decided in family court.
A family court judge will survey a range of issues when deciding on child custody and visitation, including the financial and emotional stability of each parent, the presence of siblings in the home and the relationship of the child with each of their parents. In general, family courts will seek to preserve a sense of normalcy in a child’s life and are less likely to prefer a parent who frequently moves or switches jobs due to the potential for insecurity for the child.
Parents who are going through a divorce are often deeply committed to protecting their parent-child bond through this difficult time. A family law attorney may be able to provide counsel and strong advocacy in court for child custody and an arrangement that prioritizes the needs of the children for both parents. A lawyer might help their clients to achieve the maximum level of time with their children.