Are you going through a complex child custody dispute? Are you curious what the judge considers when making their decision? At Givens Givens Sparks, we believe that anyone going through contentious legal matters such as those involving child custody should understand the many factors involved. Our Tampa child custody attorneys want to prepare you for what is ahead and make sure you understand your rights and options.
How Judges Decide Child Custody in Florida
The Best Interests of the Child or Children
Above all else, the judge wants to make sure the child or children are in the best position possible. This means arranging a custody agreement that allows for bonding with both parents (if healthy to do so), the best educational opportunities, and more. It is important to the family court to have children in a position that is healthy for their social, physical, and mental development.
If parents divorce and one moves further away, the judge may look to keep the child with parent closer to the child’s school. This provides some consistency and continuity, rather than forcing the child to start over somewhere new.
Who Has More Time?
One of the things that a judge will consider is the bonding time between the custodial parent and the child. Unfortunately, if one parent works extended hours and has less time to spend with the child, they may not be granted physical custody. The judge wants to make sure the child is well cared for and has enough time spent with the parent. The parent who works overtime may be granted visitation or some other form of a parenting plan.
Ability to Co-Parent
It is an unfortunate situation, but there are times when one of the parents refuses to work with the other regarding parenting time plans. This could mean the one parent doesn’t agree on a transition time or location, or they refuse to trade off holidays. The judge may view this as being uncooperative and this parent may not be given custody. It could even jeopardize how much visitation the parent has.
Any Negative History
Because the best interests and the well-being of the child are most important in custody battles, any history of abuse, drug use, or alcohol addiction will be considered enough reason to disqualify a parent from custodial consideration. Even worse, this parent may only receive supervised visits to protect the child from potential harm.
If you and your spouse are going through a divorce and you have children, it may be best to work together to arrange a custody agreement. If you two cannot come to terms upon which you both agree, our Tampa child custody lawyers at Givens Givens Sparks can help. Call our firm today to learn more.