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How to Navigate the Child Custody Process

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Understanding Florida Child Custody Laws

When coming to a child custody agreement with your ex-spouse, it can be stressful, and both of you probably feel anxious and overwhelmed — especially when embarking on something you’ve never done before. You and your ex want what’s best for your child, and when you both understand how to navigate the child custody process, it can make it that much easier to get through. Here’s what you need to know.

What the Courts Consider Before Making a Custody Decision

When you and your spouse present your child custody wishes to the court, you must first understand that the court’s priority is your child's best interest. The courts are not tolerant of parents who want specific custody arrangements motivated by revenge. When deciding on custody arrangements, the courts will consider the following for each parent individually:

  • Does the parent have the ability to provide a healthy and safe environment for the child?
  • Are the child’s education and living arrangements stable?
  • What was the relationship between the child and parent before the divorce?
  • What is the parent’s living situation?
  • Does the parent have the ability to support the child?
  • Is the parent willing to communicate and co-parent?

If the child is old enough, the courts may consider the child’s wishes when it comes to custody.

The Custody Decision

After the court considers all the facts, the court will then decide on the custody arrangement that will be best for the child. There are two types of custody arrangements in Florida:

  • Sole custody means that one parent will have legal and physical custody of the child.
  • Joint custody, also known as shared parental responsibility, means that both parents will share the child's legal and physical custody.

Custody and Child Support

In Florida, custody will also include child support protocols that must be adhered to. When it comes to child support, the court may examine the following factors:

  • Joint income of the parents
  • Monthly expenses of each parent
  • The child’s standards of needs (food, clothing, etc.)
  • Daycare/childcare expenses
  • Healthcare/educational costs
  • Number of children the parents have in common
  • Who the child lives with for the more significant portion of time
  • Any delinquent child support that either parent may owe

Need Help with a Florida Child Custody? Contact Us Today

Child custody is complicated — and when emotions run high, these complications can be the recipe for anxiety and stress. However, you aren’t alone, and there is help. Our Jacksonville family law attorneys are here to guide you through the child custody process, sort through the red tape so that your child's best interests are met, and help you receive an effective solution for your situation.

Contact Owenby Law, P.A. today at (904) 770-3141 to schedule a free initial consultation with our team.