07 Sep What Do Florida Courts Rely On For Making Child Custody Determinations in Divorce?

Please often ask what do the courts rely on for making child custody determinations. First, please understand that the words “child custody” have long been replaced by “timesharing”.  This was done specifically to discourage the idea of exclusion and encourage co-parenting and inclusion when it comes to parents and their children.

A Judge is required to follow Florida Statute 61.13 (3) for establishing and modifying timesharing plans for Mothers and Fathers. The best interests of the child(ren) are the predominant consideration. The legal process can be difficult to navigate without a qualified and motivated lawyer.

The first and most important factor considered by the Court is:

(a)   The demonstrated capacity and disposition of each parent to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing parent-child relationship, to honor the time-sharing schedule, and to be reasonable when changes are required;”

Another factor most often relied upon by Judges is:

“(k) The demonstrated capacity and disposition of each parent to provide a consistent routine for the child, such as discipline, and daily schedules for homework, meals, and bedtime.”

And another factor that should be emphasized is:

“(l) The demonstrated capacity of each parent to communicate with and keep the other parent informed of issues and activities regarding the minor child, and the willingness of each parent to adopt a unified front on all major issues when dealing with the child.”

The above three factors are most important and are most often relied upon by the Judges. These factors emphasize consistency and stability for the child. The first and third factor cited here emphasize and reward the parent who makes the interests of the children a priority by including the other parent in decision making, and encouraging a strong relationship between the child and the other parent.  It is important to understand that your decision to live apart from the other parent should not negatively impact the ability of the other parent to be involved with the child in all respects.

Attorney Bradley S. Sherman offers free initial consultations for those looking to hire an attorney to help them obtain a fair timesharing schedule.