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Understanding child custody determinations in Florida

For parents entering divorce proceedings, the well-being and best interests of their children are typically an important focus. Laws and guidelines vary by state with regard to child custody determinations. Florida parents are advised to seek clarification on their state's laws before attempting to negotiate issues concerning the future care and upbringing of their children after divorce.

In many circumstances, the parents themselves can choose who will be the main caretaker for their children after divorce. Often, these decisions are reached under the guidance of experienced third parties, such as mediators, counselors and/or attorneys. Some states, including Florida, require that parents engaged in child custody disputes enter mediation proceedings in order to obtain resolutions.

When parents find themselves unable to resolve issues involving child custody and visitation, the decisions then fall under the jurisdiction of the court. Certain factors are typically taken into consideration when determining matters concerning the future care of children after divorce. These factors include a child's individual preferences, who the primary caretaker of the child was during the marriage and which arrangements might be in the child's best interests.

Not all parents engaged in disputes about child custody determinations are married. In some circumstances, unmarried parents, grand-parents or other close relatives are the ones seeking custody. Regardless of an individual's situation, anyone in Florida who has questions pertaining to these issues is able to seek answers by consulting with a legal professional who has experience in matters of family law. He or she can clarify confusing state laws and offer sound legal advice about how to proceed in negotiations or in court.

Source: findlaw.com, "Custody Considerations: Step-By-Step", Accessed on Nov. 9, 2015

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