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Child Custody: What Happens to the Kids After a Divorce in Florida?

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Did you know that Florida is one of the top ten states with the highest divorce rates? Going through a divorce is something no parent wants to go through, but unfortunately, we don’t always see eye to eye with our partners.

To make matters worse, if children are involved, you have to consider child custody. If you are going through a divorce and want to know more about what happens to your children during this time, please continue reading below.

We will cover what you need to know about child custody laws and how judges decide custody. We also cover the requirements you must meet as a parent before the dissolution of the marriage. 

Florida Child Custody Parenting Plan

In Florida, after a divorce, the court establishes parental responsibility through a parenting plan. The court also sets out the rules on the amount of time the child spends with each parent through this plan. The final decision is based on the child’s health, education, and religion, and parental responsibility can be either sole or shared.

Shared Parental Responsibility

Child custody laws award shared child custody unless there is an indication that this type of agreement is not in the child’s best interest. When a shared arrangement is in place, both parents must agree to all critical decisions made for the children. If they cannot agree, one party may try to argue that they should have the sole responsibility for the children.

Sole Parental Responsibility

Sole parental responsibility is an agreement where one parent is solely responsible for the well-being of the children. This means that only one parent can make critical decisions for the children and the other parent has no say. This type of responsibility is only given if there are extenuating circumstances such as domestic violence, abuse, or drug and alcohol involvement. 

Factors a Judge Uses To Determine Child Custody

To determine the best course of action for the children involved in the divorce, a judge will consider several different factors in the case. As mentioned earlier, they will consider what is best for the child’s health, education, religion, and overall well-being. 

Additional factors considered in a child custody case:

  • The physical and mental well-being of each parent
  • The length of time the children live in a household
  • The fitness of each parent
  • The involvement of each parent in the children’s lives
  • If there are any drugs, neglect, abuse, or violence in the household
  • The ability to upkeep the child’s regular routine

It is important to note that this list is not all-inclusive. The judge will also look into the child’s developmental needs and if each parent is willing to put their own desires aside for the children’s best interest. At the end of the day, the main focus is to make sure the children are okay after the traumatic events of a divorce. 

Parent Education and Family Stabilization Requirement

In Florida, child custody laws require each parent to take a mandatory four-hour parent education and family stabilization course. The course helps to train, educate, and assist parents about the consequences and effects of a divorce on the children involved.

Both parents must take this course before the final dissolution and judgment of the marriage. To ensure you stay compliant with this requirement, you must take the course through an accredited online course provider before the final judgment. 

Should I Seek Help From a Child Custody Lawyer?

Although you don’t need an attorney to help create a parenting plan before you speak with a judge, it is best to at least consult with a lawyer. Child custody attorneys in Florida are well aware of the child custody laws that surround your case, and they can help you navigate through the legal jargon.

If there is a situation where the other parent is abusive, or they have drug or alcohol addiction concerns, you should seek a lawyer to help you build the best case possible. The attorney will take the time to review your case and create the best parenting plan that works in the best interest of your children. 

Does My Child Have a Say in the Matter?

There are instances where the judge may take the child’s view of the situation into the consideration. Before they take the child’s word, they will first see the child’s level of maturity and the level of influence a parent has on the child.

Some children choose to live with one parent over the other due to rebellion of the other parent due to the influence of the household they live in. In Florida, the judge will take into account the child’s experiences with their parent if they are over the age of 12 or 13. Of course, child custody judges are well aware of what goes on in a household and are trained to make the right judgment call for the child’s best interest. 

Mandatory Parent Education and Family Stabilization Course

If you are in the middle of a divorce, you are most likely dealing with a lot of emotions in addition to trying to keep your household in order. In addition to trying to gain child custody, custody laws that require you to take a mandatory Parent education and family stabilization course.

You must take this course before you can finalize the divorce. If you need to take the course to dissolve your marriage, make sure you work with an accredited company. Contact us now to learn more about your options for the course requirement and start the process today. 

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