Best Interest Factor #3: Needs of Children versus Needs of Parents

When family law judges in Florida make a decision about your children and the timesharing schedule for each parent they use the “best interest of the child” standard that is set forth in Florida Statutes section 61.13. There are twenty different factors that the Florida legislature has determined the courts must review and analyze before fashioning a parenting plan and time sharing schedule for the parents. This article will address the third factor. The third factor listed in the statute is as follows:

"The demonstrated capacity and disposition of each parent to determine, consider, and act upon the needs of the child as opposed to the needs or desires of the parent."

The court wants to know that you have the capacity to put your children’s needs in front of your own. For example, some parents who are going through litigation will use the children as pawns in order to somehow harm the other parent. Sometimes the children are caught in the middle and their needs are neglected for the sake of “winning” a custody case. The judge wants to see that you are able to put aside your emotions and desire to get even in favor of doing what is in your child’s best interest. Often times this can be hard for individuals going through the divorce process, as emotions are sometimes hard to overcome. Often clients who “win” custody cases are the parents who are mature enough to determine what the children need and act upon those needs instead of their own needs and desires. Analyzing the twenty factors under this statute and determining what facts in your case apply can be a complex and time intensive matter. Contact your expert family law attorney for a more in depth analysis of how the facts of your case can be analyzed and applied to this factor.