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What to expect during a Florida child custody hearing

Most Florida parents prefer to reserve the right to make their own child custody arrangements. Therefore, they will likely come to an agreement about child custody without the need to go to court. However, not all parents can agree on how to share custody. These parents will need to have a child custody hearing before a judge.

When making a decision on child custody, Florida family law courts will have the freedom to consider any information that is relevant to your case. Of paramount concern to the court in any child custody decision, will be the best interests, health and safety of the children involved. In fact, the court will honor your child's best interests over the best interests of you and the other spouse.

Here are some of the most common issues that courts will look at when making a child custody case decision:

-- Which parent is best capable of tending to the child's emotional, physical, educational and developmental needs on a daily basis?

-- Which parent is most likely to be a nurturing and loving parent to the child?

-- Which parent will encourage frequent contact between the other parent and the children?

Courts will use the above three questions to make the majority of child custody determinations. In some situations, they may also consider the child's preferences when the child is old enough. They will also think about the relationship of the child with siblings and relatives at the different parents' households. The drug or alcohol abuse histories, criminal records, history of abuse and other criminal convictions and charges of both parents, will also be considered.

Before going to court regarding a child custody matter, Florida parents can discuss their cases with an experienced family law attorney. An attorney can provide guidance on how the court may view and decide your case.

Source: FindLaw, "Florida Child Custody Laws," accessed Feb. 03, 2017

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