25 May 5 Things about Child Custody That You Need to Know
Child Custody Basics
Cases that concern parents as opposing parties vying for “custody” of their kids present distinct issues for one and all involved. Sentiments frequently run high, particularly if the custody case is being worked out in the midst of a divorce. Florida child custody law is structured to encourage parents to collaborate and design a parenting strategy that will permit both parents to share the obligation of raising their children and to contribute to the maintenance, control, and care of their minor children.
In rare cases you can be granted sole custody of your minor child or children, however, it is difficult yet not unheard of. You will need an exceptional family law attorney that believes in your case and compelling story. It can be an uphill conflict and in many instances, people will fail. Though, if the other parent or spouse is unstable, on drugs, unreliable, or just doesn’t have a fit environment to provide, sole custody may be the appropriate option. Taking the appropriate action promptly is imperative when aiming to have the child permanently placed in the home that is in their best interest to reside in.
Appointed family court judges carefully examine all of the facts that are presented by both parties in order to make an informed decision. That is why it is important that you share all of the information pertaining to the child in the most honest form to your attorney. At times, there may be details that you are not comfortable with sharing but if that information can endanger the safety or well-being of a minor child you must be open and detailed. Keep in mind that your attorney wants what’s best for both you and your child.
Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA)
The one law that applies to every child custody proceeding in the state of Florida is the UCCJEA, which indicates that custody proceedings concerning any minor child will be held in that state in which the child resides. The state of residence in which the child lives is defined as the child’s home for the last six months consecutively, or since the child was born if the child is less than six months old. Once it is has been established that Florida is the minor child’s home state, the Florida courts have jurisdiction to hear the case.
Child Custody Case Standard
A court that hears a child custody case will resolve the case, including custody, child support, and visitation arrangements, according to what is found to be “the best interests of the child” standard. The standard permits the court to conclude each case independently, with some guidance. According to Florida Law, it is in the best interest of the child to have regular and uninterrupted communication with both of the parents and to support them in sharing the responsibilities, rights, and delights of child-rearing.
Cases concerning child custody involve defining two parts of child-rearing: time-sharing and parental responsibility. Parental responsibility refers to making decisions that affect the minor child’s life and well-being. Time-sharing describes with whom, how long, and where a child will spend their time.
Consider a Plan for Parenting
There are various factors for a Florida Court to contemplate when making a decision in a custody case based on what the best interest of the child may be. These factors include:
- The ability for each parent to provide a continuously supportive and close relationship while abiding by a time-sharing schedule. Whenever a change is needed, each parent should be reasonable with demands.
- Determine each parent’s responsibilities, including obligations that may be passed on to third parties. The courts strongly consider the existing daily routine of the child in attempts to prevent uprooting a child from what he or she is used to.
- The capability of each parent to think through and act on the needs of the child and not their own. It is so important to learn how to coexist amicably in a co-parenting situation in order to maintain a healthy emotional environment for the child.
- The length of time that the minor child has lived in a continuously stable environment and the ability to maintain that stability. More times than not, courts prevent removing a child from the home that they are comfortable with and know.
- The geographical fairness of the parenting plan. Where each parent lives can play a role in the court’s decision because the distance is a factor of various elements in a custody case.
- The ethical aptness of the parents. The form in which a parent leads their life in a variety of categories can impact a child’s well-being which is why it is a component that is considered by the judge before making a decision.
- The physical and mental health of each of the parents. The ability to properly care for a minor child comes in two parts. The physical capacity of each parent and the mental capacity as well. An easy decision can be made when there is a handicap in either category.
- The judge will consider the child involvement and attachment to his or her school, home, and community record. Removing a child from the community they have become accustomed to will be weighed when making a decision.
- The opinion of the child, if appropriate. Depending on different factors, a judge may interview a child who in cases where the child is of age to testify. Children who are of age, have the ability to share their story with the court and provide reasons for why they prefer residing with one parent or the other.
- The proven knowledge, disposition, and ability, of each parent to inform the other on a matter that pertains to the minor child. Communication is key to successfully raising a child in separate homes. The custodial parent should be informed of any unscheduled events when the child is in the care of the non-custodial parent. The same rules apply vice-versa.
- The capability of each parent to deliver a reliable routine for the child. In such a trying time for the entire family, the new adjustments can negatively impact a child. Keeping a constant routine is one of the few things the child can count on so the courts will heavily consider the ability to maintain a trustworthy routine to ensure stability for the child.
- The capacity of each parent to communicate any possible chances and keep the other parent informed of matters regarding the minor child. The disposition of each parent to implement a united front on all key issues when dealing with the minor child.
- Evidence of child abuse, child abandonment, domestic violence, child neglect, or sexual violence, despite any prior or pending action in relation to those matters, has been brought.
- Proof that either one of the parents has knowingly provided fraudulent information to the court in regards to any pending or prior action in regards to child abuse, domestic violence, child abandonment, child neglect, or sexual violence.
- The particular parenting responsibilities are usually completed by each parent and the separation of parental duties prior to and during any pending litigation, including duties that were by third parties.
- The capacity of each parent to partake and be involved in the minor child’s activities and school functions. The courts understand the needs and wants of most children and will evaluate how each parent’s involvement will play a role in the child’s life.
- The capability of each parent to uphold an environment for the child that is free from any substance abuse.
- The ability of each parent to guard the child against the continuing litigation and ceasing from reproachful comments about the other parent to the child. It is important that minor children have little to no involvement in the litigation process to prevent any unhealthy mental anguish that has the potential of permanent damage.
- The developmental requirements of the child and the aptitude of each parent to meet such needs. Each minor child has different needs and in cases where the child has services in places for special educational or health requirements, the schedule and capacity of each parent will be considered. Third-party assistance can also be considered so if either parent’s plan lacks flexibility, evidence of third-party care can be presented as a solution for the court to consider.
- Any additional factors that are pertinent to the creation of a parenting plan, including the time-sharing schedule.
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