One of the most difficult aspects of a divorce or child custody case is the development of a Parenting Plan. The Plan governs the time-sharing and custody rights for each parent. Florida law is gender neutral, meaning there is no preference for or against the father or mother, or for or against any specific time-sharing schedule in a child custody case. Thus, if you need assistance with a child custody case you should contact a child custody law firm in Tampa for counsel. Many law firms in Tampa will offer a free consultation for these types of matters.
Best Interests of Child
In creating a Parenting Plan, it is important to know that Florida favors frequent and continuing contact between both parents and their child after they separate or divorce. This includes encouraging parents to share the rights, responsibilities and joys of child custody. In creating a Parenting Plan, the court’s primary concern is the “best interest of the child.” The court will determine the best interests of the child by evaluating all of the following factors affecting the child and the circumstances of the family:
Factors a Judge Will Consider in a Florida Child Custody Case
The factors considered by judges in a Florida child custody case are located at Florida Statutes section 61.13(2)(c)2 and include the following:
- Whether both parents have demonstrated an ability and willingness to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing parent-child relationship, to honor a time-sharing schedule, and to be reasonable when changes are required.
- Whether both parents have demonstrated an ability and willingness to determine, consider, and act upon the needs of the child as opposed to their own needs or desires
- The length of time the child has lived in a stable and satisfactory home environment, and whether it is the child’s best interest to remain in that environment.
- The moral fitness of the parents. When considering a parent’s moral fitness, the court will focus on whether the parent’s conduct has had or is reasonably likely to have a direct adverse impact on the child. The mere possibility of an adverse impact is not enough., see child custody case McKinnon v. Staats.
- The reasonable preference of the child, if the court believes the child is reasonably able to express a preference. A child’s preference, however, cannot be the sole factor for the court to determine a parenting plan. See Florida child custody case, Garvey v. Garvey.
- Evidence of domestic violence, sexual violence, child abuse, child abandonment, or child neglect.
- The particular parenting tasks and division of parental responsibilities customarily performed by each parent before and during the court case, including the extent to which persons other than the parents have exercised parental responsibilities.
- Whether both parents have demonstrated an ability and willingness to participate and be involved in the child’s school and extracurricular activities.
- Any other factor that is relevant to the case and best interests of the child.
Child Custody Law Firm
Your Tampa family law attorney should discuss each of these factors with you in detail so that he or she can present the court with evidence regarding those factors that may apply to your case. If you would like more information, please contact us to schedule a consultation with a child custody lawyer in Tampa. The Tampa child custody attorneys at Florida Law Advisers, P.A. know what judges consider when determining the best interest of the child and use their knowledge of the law and litigation skills to aggressively represent our clients. To speak with a family law attorney call 800 990 7763, we are available 24/7.