These days Florida courts are beginning to lean toward a preference for awarding parents with 50-50 custody of their children. What that means is that courts like to see children spending half of their time with each parent, equally, and having the parents share their parental responsibilities equally as well.
However, courts do have discretion when considering a child custody case to make decisions regarding how custody issues will be divided between the parents. When considering such an issue, Florida family law courts will generally review the following information:
— The willingness of the parents to support and encourage a healthy relationship between the other parent and the child, the willingness to honor the parenting plan and the willingness to be reasonable when it comes to necessary changes
— The ability of both parents to respond to the needs of the child
— The physical, mental and psychological health of each parent
— How stable the child’s home life has been
— Whether either parent has a history of child abuse, sexual violence, child abandonment, domestic violence or child neglect
— The wishes of the child in cases where the child is sufficiently old enough, intelligent enough and experienced enough to make such decisions (usually if the child is at least 12 years of age)
— The ability and/or willingness of both parents to be actively involved in the school activities and extracurricular activities of the child
The above points are very important areas of consideration for Florida courts when they make rulings on child custody issues. It is worth noting as well that some of the answers to the above questions will be subject to different points of view. For this reason, Florida parents may want to contract the services of a Florida family law attorney who can advocate on their behalf.