If you are getting ready for a child custody hearing in a Florida courtroom, you should be familiar with a variety of information. Understanding your parental rights, the types of custody that are available and the factors that go into awarding custody will help you prepare.
What are your parental rights?
A parent’s right include developing a relationship with their child, spending quality time with their child, and making important decisions about their child’s health, education and upbringing. When the parents are unmarried, the child’s mother holds sole legal custody until paternity is established, whether through a court proceeding or through the parents’ agreement.
What are the types of custody?
Custody cases deal with legal and physical custody. Legal custody grants parents the right to make certain decisions about their child, including education, medical care and religious upbringing. Physical custody grants a parent the right for the child to live with them. Courts can award joint legal and physical custody, where the parents share the responsibilities. However, courts might also award sole physical custody to one parent and visitation to another while still awarding parents joint legal custody.
What factors are considered when awarding custody?
Courts make their custody decisions based on the best interests of the child. To arrive at this determination, they consider many factors including:
- Each parent’s preference when it comes to custody
- Each parent’s parenting capability
- The physical and mental condition of the parents and the child
- The existing relationship between each parent and the child
- How the child’s life and stability will be affected by the outcome of the custody case
Child custody decisions will affect the family for a long time. However, they are not written in stone. As the family members evolve so will their needs. Therefore, parents can petition to modify the custody order when necessary.