There are many different factors that can impact whether sole or joint custody is awarded during the divorce process.
When parents in Florida decide to end their marriage, they often worry about how this decision will affect the time they have to spend with their children. As parents embark on the divorce process, they should be aware of the different factors that may impact their ability to solidify a beneficial arrangement for themselves and their children.
Types of custody
According to the American Bar Association, there are two primary types of child custody: sole custody and joint custody. In sole custody arrangements, one parent, often referred to as the custodial parent, is responsible for taking care of his or her children and making important decisions about them on a day-to-day basis. The other parent, usually referred to as the noncustodial parent, is generally granted visitation rights so he or she is able to see the children during vacation periods or on weekends.
In joint custody arrangements, parents share the responsibility of taking care of their children and making important decisions about them. However, just because parents share these responsibilities does not mean the children spend an equal amount of time with each parent.
When awarding child custody, the court, according to the Florida State Legislature, considers a variety of different factors. These include some of the following:
- Both the mental and physical fitness of each parent
- The ability of each parent to follow through with discipline, daily routines, plans for mealtimes and time for activities
- How likely it is for each parent to keep the other informed about the child's activities, wellbeing and schedules
- If the child has enough understanding or knowledge, his or her preference
- The geographic location of each parent's residence and how the new parenting arrangement will be affected
- Each parent's ability to recognize the child's needs and then act on them
The court may also consider the role each parent played in the child's life before litigation commenced and any evidence of child abuse, abandonment, domestic violence or sexual violence. Additionally, the developmental needs and each parent's ability to meet these needs may be considered.
Reach out to an attorney
Since so many factors are considered while awarding child custody, parents often worry if they will be awarded sole or joint custody of their children. For this reason, Florida parents in the midst of the divorce process should reach out to an attorney who can provide legal guidance and reassurance during this sensitive time.