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Best Interests of the Child in Florida

Courts make decisions all the time that affect children. These decisions are often related to things like child custody, child support, any future modifications to custody and support, and termination of parental rights. These decisions are made in light of the best interests of the child. 

At Family Matters Law Group, our family law lawyer in Florida provides guidance to our clients and helps them understand what the best interest of the child means generally, and how it could affect their unique case specifically. Making sure our clients are informed helps them make better decisions, too. So, contact us online or at 954.904.1020 to schedule a Strategy Session.


Best Interests of the Child Standard in Florida

To determine what is in the best interests of the child, a set of factors has been established to guide the courts. These factors are also meant as a way to objectively arrive at these decisions so that they are fairer and more consistent. 

Florida Child Custody: Best Interest Factors

When determining child custody in Florida, the court considers the best interests of the child as the primary consideration. These are some of the factors that guide the decision-making process:

  1. Parent-Child Relationship:

    • The demonstrated capacity of each parent to encourage a close and continuing relationship with the child.
    • Willingness to honor the court-ordered parenting schedule.
  2. Division of Parental Responsibilities:

    • How responsibilities will be divided after the litigation.
    • Consideration of delegation to third parties.
  3. Child-Centered Decision-Making:

    • Each parent's ability to prioritize the child's needs over their own desires.
    • Focusing on the child's well-being.
  4. Stability and Continuity:

    • The length of time the child has lived in a stable environment.
    • Desirability of maintaining continuity.
  5. Geographic Viability:

    • Considering the child's needs, especially school-age children.
    • Minimizing travel time for implementing the parenting plan.
  6. Moral Fitness and Health:

    • Evaluating the parents' moral character and physical/mental health.
  7. Child's Preference:

    • If the child is mature enough, their reasonable preference.
  8. Parental Knowledge and Disposition:

    • Capacity to be informed about the child's life details.
    • Consistency in routines and communication.
  9. Unified Front:

    • Willingness to communicate and present a unified front on major issues.
  10. Evidence of Harm:

    • Any history of domestic violence, child abuse, or neglect.

Florida has a new custody statute or custody law as of 2023.

Which Best Interests of the Child Standard Applies if Custody Involves Multiple States?

Child custody determinations are decided by state courts. Wherever the case is filed, typically that state's best interests of the child standard applies. In some cases, where a genuine question as to which state can enforce a custody order exists, uniform laws like the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act may control. That, too, is determined by the state. 

Contact a Family Law Lawyer in Florida Today

The best interests of the child standard will greatly influence your child's life as well as yours. If you have questions, need advice, or want to file a complaint for divorce, child custody, or child support, contact Family Matters Law Group online or call us at 954.904.1020 today. We will schedule a Strategy Session with our family law attorney and help you understand and make informed decisions about your child or children's best interests.

Family Matters Law Group

At Family Matters we treat each case uniquely based on your needs, concerns, and budget. Find out more about us.