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Florida Child Custody: Understanding the Basics

Issues involving child custody are the most contentious elements in many divorces, and no wonder—it’s emotionally difficult for all parties, and it’s genuinely important that the best interests of the children are protected. It can be even more stressful when you don’t understand what’s going on. In this blog entry, we will shed some light on how this process works here in Florida.

In Florida, shared custody is referred to as “time-sharing.”

With time-sharing, one parent has physical custody and the other parent has g visitation rights. Time-sharing is designed to ensure that both parents have lots of time with the child.

How is time-sharing determined?

In Florida, the court makes its decision based on the best interests of the child. The court considers a variety of factors, including:

·         How likely each parent is to be reasonable, adhere to the time-sharing schedule, and to be supportive of the child’s relationship with the other parent.

·         The emotional and physical health of each parent

·         The parent’s ability to provide a stable home environment

·         The parent’s ability to participate in the child’s school activities

·         Any history of child neglect or violence

·         The child’s preferences, if the court thinks the child is old enough to understand the consequences.

What if one parent wants to move?

A parent and child can move if both parents sign a consent form that includes a time-sharing schedule for the non-relocating parent–or other people entitled to time sharing–and describes the time-sharing transportation arrangements. The parent who is relocating must serve a petition to the non-relocating parent that includes the address and phone number of the new residence, the date of the intended move, and a statement of the reason for the move.

Once a child custody arrangement has been decided on, it can’t be modified unless the one of the parents or another interested party can show a substantial, material, or unanticipated change in circumstances. A change will be made only if it serves the child’s best interests.

If you’d like more information about child custody in Florida, we are here to help. Please contact us today to learn more!

Vanessa Vasquez de Lara, Esq. is the founder and owner of Vasquez de Lara Law Group, a law firm dedicated to assisting families with the legal issues affecting them, and their loved ones in family and probate court. Ms. Vasquez de Lara graduated cum laude from the University of Miami School of Law in 2002. She has been named to the 2015 Super Lawyers Rising Stars list and is an experienced family, probate, and guardianship litigator.

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