How does the court determine who gets custody of children in a divorce?
According to Florida Statute 61.13(3), the determination of which parent will receive “custody” or be the place of the child’s primary residence is in “the best interest of the child.” A judge will evaluate every circumstance on an individual basis. In Florida law it has been determined that children benefit from having frequent contact with both parents. Both parents are to start with no greater custody rights than the other and the judge will determine which parent is best suited to have primary custody. During the determination of custody, judges take many factors into consideration. These factors are set in the Florida Law under Florida Statute 61.13(3). Factors that determine which parent will reside with are:
- Health of the child
- Providing the child with sufficient food, clothes and shelter.
- Safety of the child
- Developmental needs of the child
- Willingness of the parent to co parent
- Willingness of the parent to frequently communicate with the no residential parent
- The individual parenting plans