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How courts determine the best interest of a child

Child custody cases in Florida largely center around the best interests of the child involved. In fact, courts must make their child custody decisions with the primary objective of supporting the welfare of the children above anyone else in the matter. Secondarily, the courts will consider how convenient their decisions are for the parents.

Across the country, Florida and 22 other states have specific language in their family law statutes on child custody that require courts to hold the best interests of the child as a starting point in their custody decisions. Here are some of the factors that courts will usually consider in this regard:

-- The relationships and emotional ties that exist between the children, their parents, sibling, other family members, caregivers and household members.

-- A parent's capacity to offer his or her child a safe home environment, food, medical care, clothing and other life necessities.

-- The children's physical and mental health needs.

-- Each of the parents' levels of physical and mental health.

-- Whether domestic violence has happened in the home environment.

-- Other factors will also likely come into play.

It is important to note what "child's best interest" factors will be considered by the court in a particular case in order to prepare a parent's child custody arguments for the possibility of settlement and/or trial. For those who hope to prevail in their child custody cases, an experienced Florida child custody lawyer can be helpful.

At the Law Office of Kelley A. Joseph, PA, our child custody lawyers are available to evaluate the potential strengths and weaknesses of a Florida parent's child custody case. Once these have been identified, an appropriate legal strategy can be devised.

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