When couples are approaching a divorce, child custody may be at the top of their list of concerns. Child custody concerns can be emotional. Parents understandably concerned with their child’s welfare will want to understand the child custody process during divorce.
Child custody concerns are always based on what is in the best interests of the child. Using the child’s best interest as the guiding principle, the family law court will determine time sharing and child custody. Child custody arrangements can be different depending on the situation and circumstances, including joint custody and sole custody arrangements. Joint custody arrangements are favored in Florida whenever possible.
There are two different types of child custody, including physical and legal custody. Physical custody refers to which parent the child lives with or which parent the child physically spends time with. Legal custody refers to which parent has the authority to make important decisions for the child including education-related decisions, healthcare, religious upbringing and overall welfare. One parent may have legal custody while both share physical custody, for example, or both may have joint legal and physical custody. Depending on what is in the best interests of the child, different custody arrangements may be agreed upon.
In addition to the child’s preference, the family law court considers a variety of factors when determining what is in the best interests of the child when making child custody decisions. Parents contemplating a child custody arrangement should be familiar with the different child custody arrangements so they can develop a custody agreement that is best for their child and family.