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A primer on child custody in Florida

Most folks in Miami have probably heard about contentious celebrity child custody battles, and they have a basic understanding of how child custody works. But child custody may be handled differently from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. This blog post will provide an introduction to how Florida courts decide child custody matters, as well as the one consideration that is universal across all jurisdiction: the child's best interests.

In some cases, parents are able to agree on a child custody plan by negotiating legal and physical custody, as well as visitation. That plan is then submitted to a family law court for approval. The court will take a careful look at the plan before deciding whether to approve it. If the court decides that the plan is in the best interests of the child, the court will approve it. If the court does not find that the plan is in the best interests of the child, then the court will reject it. In these instances, the parents will have another opportunity to negotiate a better plan.

If the parents are unable to agree on a parenting plan, the court will impose one. Each parent has the opportunity to advocate for his or her position before the court. The court will take some factors into account when making its decision on child custody. These factors include which parent is more likely to take care of the daily emotional, physical, educational, developmental, and special needs of the child. The court will also consider which parent is more likely to maintain a stable, loving, nurturing, and consistent relationship with the child. Finally, the court will take into account which parent is more likely to allow and encourage frequent contact between each parent and the child.

Parents should remember the important role that negotiation and advocacy plays in fighting for an optimal outcome in a child custody case. Although a court will always put the best interests of a child first, parents often have to be creative and convincing in their legal arguments as to why what they want support those interests. For that reason, many Floridians find the assistance of a skilled family law attorney beneficial.

Source: FindLaw, "Florida Child Custody Laws," accessed on March 5, 2017

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