Custody battles during a divorce can get messy and complicated for many reasons. Both parents may think that their child will be better off with them and as a result, will do just about anything to make sure they are granted primary custody. However, it is the court’s job to determine a physical and legal custody arrangement that will in fact be in the best interest of the child.
Factors considered when evaluating the child’s best interests
Any divorce, no matter how amicable, will likely have an impact on the couple’s children. Family courts in Florida have a responsibility to ensure that the child’s physical, emotional, and financial needs are met, and that the child will grow up in a stable and loving environment, even if the parents are no longer together.
Under Fla. Stat. Sec. 61.13, some of the factors the courts will consider when determining custody include:
- Moral fitness, mental health, and physical health of parent
- Capacity and willingness of each parent to care for the child
- Child’s current living environment (if satisfactory, would continuity be in child’s best interest?)
- Child’s behavior at home and school and in the community
- Each parent’s childcare responsibilities prior to separation
- Evidence of abuse or child neglect
- Geography (where does each parent live?)
- Parents’ ability to cooperate with each other
Courts generally prefer a joint custody arrangement, where both parents will share physical and legal custody of the child. However, every family’s situation is different. A family law attorney in your area can help navigate complex custody issues and help make sure your child remains a priority throughout the process.