Denmon & Denmon Trial Lawyers Articles Which Parent Gets Custody in a Florida Divorce?

Which Parent Gets Custody in a Florida Divorce?

By Christian Denmon  Apr. 10, 2013 11:39a

The Florida statutes regarding custody were redesigned in 2008, and began awarding each parent time with their children instead of awarding custody to only one parent. When couples get divorced in Florida but the parties are unable to reach a settlement agreement regarding custody, the court determines how the parents share time with their child.

In the state of Florida, divorcing parents are required to attend a parenting class before the court can make a decision regarding custody matters. A parenting class will generally help parents guide their children to overcome the changes brought about by divorce. If both parents are able to agree on their own parenting arrangements, their proposed parenting plan must be submitted to the court for approval.

Florida child custody law presumes that it's in the best interests of the child to award both parents with joint legal custody, which is referred to as shared parental responsibility in Florida. With legal custody, a parent has the right to make important decisions in the child's life including decisions about the child's religious training, education, and medical care. In shared physical custody, the child spends time with each parent. Since Florida courts typically award shared parental responsibility to both parents, both of them have the right to make important decisions for their child. The court will only award sole legal custody to one parent if it has been established that awarding joint legal custody can harm the child.

If parents request for custody and go to trial, the judge will decide on the issue based on the best interests of the child in accordance with Florida family law. When determining custody, the judge takes into consideration the parents' moral fitness and physical health, and most importantly, the importance of continuity for the child. For this reason, the judge will likely choose the parent who has been the primary caregiver of the child.

If the court finds it necessary to evaluate the parents' capacity to provide care for the child, then the court will order evaluations. This will help the court determine the child's best interests. The court, if it deems it necessary, may appoint a guardian ad litem that will represent the child during the custody proceedings. The specially trained guardian ad litem will not act as the child's attorney, but will help ensure that the best interests of the child are met and protected throughout the entire divorce proceedings.

If you have custody issues in Florida, call Denmon & Denmon Trial Lawyers today at 813-554-3232 and ask to speak directly to a Tampa divorce attorney.

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