Child custody is a delicate legal matter that parents must address when they pursue divorce. In Florida, parents may share custody of their children, or custody may be granted to just one of them at the end of their marriage. How and to whom custody is granted will depend on the best interests of the children affected by the agreement or order that results from the divorce.
The best interests of a child standard is a subjective evaluation, and parents can contribute to the conversation about how their kids’ care may best achieved through custody. A legal advocate who works in family law can also help a parent prepare for the important and sometimes difficult process of establishing child custody.
Factors relevant to the best interests of a child
As mentioned, deciding how to protect the best interests of a unique child is a subjective process. Courts look at many different factors relevant to a specific child before deciding how their custodial plan should be set. Some of the factors that courts consider in best interests evaluations include:
- The relationship the child has with each parent
- The ability of the parents to foster their child’s relationship with each other
- The ability of the parents to provide the child with love and support
- The presence of abuse or substance abuse committed by either parent in the family setting
These are only some of the factors that parents can expect to discuss during the child custody evaluations.
Advocacy for a child’s best interests
Parents are excellent advocates for their children’s needs because they know them and want what is best for them. During divorce and custody proceedings, parents can play an active role in how child custody and parenting time are discussed and reviewed. Divorce can be hard on children, and parents who are active in the custody process can help shape the legal orders and agreements that will define care for their kids in the future.