One of the things that can complicate the divorce process is children. If a couple has children, each parent usually wants to spend as much time with his or her children as possible. The parent with primary physical custody is typically the one that gets to spend the most time with their kids. Custody battles can sometimes be contentious, as it can be difficult for parents to compromise on this point. In cases where couples can’t make custody decisions themselves, the court will step in to determine a solution.
Most courts in the United States share a common goal when determining child custody—the child’s best interest. A child’s best interest is getting an arrangement as close to ideal as possible. The ultimate goal of the court is to ensure the child’s physical, emotional, and mental needs are met. Usually, maintaining a close relationship with both parents is in the child’s best interests. Therefore, the court will not prevent a parent from seeing his or her child under most circumstances, unless child abuse is involved in the case.
Likewise, the court will consider a number of important factors when making its decision regarding which parent will have physical and legal custody of the child. These factors include the following:
- Physical health of all involved
- Religious considerations
- Cultural considerations
- Wishes of the child (if he or she is old enough)
- Support and interaction with extended family members
- Need for the continuation of a stable home environment
- Special needs of the child (if any)
- Age and sex of the child
- Ability of the child to adjust to changes in school or community
- Relationship of the child to siblings and other household members
- Parents’ discipline styles
- History of abuse/ domestic violence
- Evidence of parental drug or alcohol abuse
- Job security of each parent
- Moral fitness of each parent
- Emotional bond between parent and child
Remember, parents who participate in the process and who seem unlikely to try and sabotage the relationship between the child and the other parent will likely be awarded physical custody. While parents might split time completely with the child, if one parent is clearly more responsible than the other, that parent will likely be considered the one with primary custody.
Custody decisions will also come with a parenting plan. Florida law requires parents to create a parenting plan together that will meet the needs of the individual child. If you are unable to make one, the court will provide one for you. The parenting plan outlines parental responsibility and time-sharing. For example, the parenting plan will determine which parent will be responsible for the health care of the child or how much time the child will spend with each parent.
If you’re concerned about the court’s decision regarding your child custody case, make sure you have a skilled Clearwater family law attorney on your side. Tinny, Meyer & Piccarreto, P.A. are experienced lawyers who understand the stress you may be experiencing. We treat each case as if it were our own, so we never think of it with impartiality. We also ensure our lines of communication remain open 24/7, so we can address your questions or concerns at any point during the case. Let us see what we can do for you.
Contact us at (727) 245-9009 or fill out our online form to schedule a case consultation with one of our skilled attorneys today. We look forward to speaking with you.