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Florida Timesharing Disputes: Understanding the Best Interests of the Child Standard

It is always best to find a collaborative solution to any child-related issues. Unfortunately, that is not possible in every case. Sometimes, a Florida court will need to make the final decision. In these cases, courts will seek to resolve child custody disputes using the state’s ‘best interests of the child’ standard. Put simply, this standard empowers courts to take a holistic look at each case in order to make a decision that best protects the physical and mental well-being of the child. The court can weigh many different factors in deciding a case. These decisions are fact specific and they will always require a comprehensive review of the unique circumstances of the case.

It is imperative that you are represented by an experienced Florida child custody lawyer during any dispute. While these cases are always highly individualized, you can get a better idea of how courts will reach their decisions by considering the following list of factors that are frequently considered in child custody cases.

Five Questions that a Florida Court Will Answer

  1. Where has the child been living? Florida courts are strongly in favor of stability for children. Courts are very reluctant to pull children out of good situation. Therefore, the parent who the child has already been living with will likely have an advantage in any child custody dispute. However, it is important to note that this is far from a decisive factor. It is merely an issue that will be considered.
  2. What is the emotional bond between the child and each parent? Courts will also consider stability when it comes relationships. More specifically, courts will look at the emotional bonds between the each parent and their child. If the evidence shows that the child clearly has a stronger emotional bond with one parent, then that parent is more likely to gain stronger custody rights.
  3. What is the capacity of each parent to provide for the child’s needs? Courts will also review each parent’s financial status, home environment, work schedule, and lifestyle. Courts are looking to determine the extent to which each parent has the capacity and ability to properly care for the child.
  4. What is the extent to which each parent will help facilitate improved familial relationships? Additionally, there is a strong presumption in Florida that a relationship with both parents is inherently in the best interests of a child. Therefore, if a court believes that one parent will do more to facilitate positive mutual relationships, the court may favor stronger custody rights for that parent. If the court believes that you will deny the other parent access to their child, then you may lose out on custody rights.
  5. What is the preference of the child? Finally, when appropriate, the child’s preference will be considered. This is only an issue in cases with older children. However, if the child can express a preference that is reasonably articulate and well-informed, then the court can take that preference into consideration.

Contact an Orlando Child Custody Lawyer Today

Nothing should come before your relationship with your child. At the Law Offices of Steve W. Marsee, P.A., our family law team is committed to protecting your rights in any child custody or child time-sharing dispute. To learn more about what our firm can do for you, please call our Orlando office today at 407-521-7171. We proudly serve families throughout Central Florida.

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