When judges in Florida make a decision about your children and the custody, (or 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 fourth factor. The third factor listed in the statute is as follows:
The length of time the child has lived in a stable, satisfactory environment and the desirability of maintaining continuity.
The court’s believe that a stable environment is a healthy environment. Often times during a dissolution of marriage, the court would prefer that the parties maintain the status quo for the children while the case is pending. Usually that means keeping the children in the marital home during the pendency of the case. Of course there are always exceptions to every rule, but in general the courts want to minimize the effect the divorce will have on the children. Uprooting children from a home they’ve known all their lives, even on a temporary basis, could have a negative impact upon the children. Additionally, the judge will want to know if you have maintained stability for the children as well. If you are able to minimize the amount of times you move with the children and establish a stable, satisfactory environment, you may be favored in this factor. But, 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.