What Is Child Custody?
Under the Florida family law, child custody is declared by the court considering all the factors that involves the well-being of the child. The custody of the child can either be shared or be given to a solo parent. When legal separation involves child custody it is necessary to have a detailed conversation with the attorney regarding what kind of custody is realistic in the case. Custody decisions can’t be made in a vacuum — they require the couples to consider what is best for them and, most importantly, what is in the best interest of their children. Generally, child custody agreements are formed in conjunction with a parenting plan agreement, such as a 50/50 parenting plan, but in some cases, it is important to establish the physical and legal custody of the child.
Child Custody Laws in Florida
A child custody law confirms the rights and responsibility of the parent for their child. Child custody is divided into two sections:
- Physical Custody
- Legal Custody
Physical custody defines the parent with whom the child will reside. Legal custody generally describes the decision making on upbringing of the child. Legal custody is completely different from the physical one. For instance, a parent with legal custody has the right to decide on the child’s medical, dental care and education. While announcing the custody child’s preference is considered. If the child decides to live with both the parent then the parent are said to have joint physical and legal custody. Legal battles over the child custody can be long and very expensive. For proper understanding regarding the child custody it is necessary to consult an experienced family law attorney.
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Different Types of Child Custody
If you have children and you are going through a divorce, you need to make a decision regarding the custody of the children, keeping in mind their best interest. Legally, there are four types of child custody plans possible in Florida.
Joint custody can be categorized as joint physical and joint legal custody. Joint legal custody gives equal rights to both of the parents to take a decision that is in the best interest of the children that may include decisions regarding the child’s health, education and welfare. Joint physical custody means that the children will spend significant time with both parents.
Solo or Full Custody
Solo custody or full custody is the legal right which enables one of the parents with absolute decision making authority regarding the children’s health, education, religion and welfare. This type of custody is rare and often ordered when the one of the parent has historically been uninvolved or has done nothing significant that indicated his/her participation with the children. In such types of child custody, the children live with the parent who has been legally given the solo legal custody, and that parent holds a veto power that provides him/her the right to make decisions regarding when, how and under what circumstances the other parent will meet the children.
Non-Parental or Third-Party Custody
Anyone who is not the child’s parent but wants custody of the child can file for either a guardianship or can become the third-party custodian of the child. There are different ways of doing so.
- If a child is in a paternity or divorce case, a close relative of the parents can file for the third-party custody.
- In a case of a guardian or third-party custody, the parents still have the right to see their child in parenting time. If the parenting time is determined by the court, and if the court finds out that the parenting time can have a harmful effect on the children, the court can take away this right from the parents.
The threshold of receiving third-party custody is very high. The relatives have to prove to the court that giving them the custody of the child will be in the best interest of the child.
Split custody is a rare form of custody that is resisted from the court side. This type of custody mainly comes when the decision involves multiple children and each parent gets the custody of individual children depending on the preference of the children. When this happens, the child support depends on the income of both the parents. The amount of child support each parent will offer to the one living with the other parent is figured out according to the court guidelines.
Child Custody Attorney in Miami, FL
If you are going through a divorce or legal separation, contact an experienced family law attorney who is knowledgeable regarding child custody plans. Attorney Theodore Enfield has practiced family law for more than 35 years. Contact our law firm for a consultation concerning what’s best for you children.