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Child Custody Lawyers in Destin

Understanding Florida Child Custody Law

Child custody is awarded by determining which parent is able to uphold the best interests of the child during a separation or a divorce. Custody agreements are legally binding, meaning that if one parent fails in their duties, the court may limit their custodial responsibilities or even revoke them altogether.

Under a law signed by Governor Rick Scott in 2011, child custody has been split into two categories in the state of Florida: parental responsibility and parental time-sharing. According to this statute, no parent is to be completely removed from either aspect of a child’s upbringing, except in cases where one party has legally been found unfit.

Parental time-sharing refers specifically to how much time a parent is allotted to see a child, regardless of custodial responsibilities. Parental responsibility refers to any custodial duties and decision-making power the court may divide in determining which parent is best equipped to take care of the child.

Under Florida Law, types of parental responsibility include:

  • Shared Parental Responsibility: This is the most common type of parental responsibility and refers to an agreement where both parents share mutual decision-making and custodial duties.
  • Shared Responsibility with Ultimate Decision-Making Authority: Under this type of parental responsibility, parents are still expected to mutually share custodial duties, but one parent is allowed final decision-making power in matters where they fail to come to an agreement.
  • Sole Parental Responsibility: This is the least common type of parental responsibility and is only awarded in cases where one parent is ruled to be unfit, to the point where their decision-making abilities are compromised and they are unable to take care of the child.

Division of responsibilities in custody cases is determined by looking at various factors, in an effort to determine which parent is best able to best fulfill certain custodial duties.

Factors the court will consider when determining custody include:

  • Education: The location and quality of schools is taken into consideration when determining which parent is better suited to provide for the child’s education.
  • Housing: Current living conditions as well future housing options are considered in determining which parent can provide the best environment for the child.
  • Finances: Each parent’s economic situation will be taken into account, including income, assets, and potential child support, in determining which parent can provide the most financially stable upbringing.
  • Physical and Mental Health: Parents whose physical or mental health may be compromised will be considered in determining which party is more fit to take care of the child.
  • Involvement: The court may call upon family members, educators, or other individuals in the child’s life to determine which parent has historically been more active in the life of the child.
  • Flexibility: The ability to adapt and cope with shifting responsibilities can be a factor in determining which parent is better equipped to handle custody.
  • Domestic Violence: If one parent has been accused of domestic violence, the court will take that into consideration in protecting the safety of the child.
  • Parental Plan: The court may look at specific arrangements and actions a parent has taken as evidence to determine their readiness to care for the child.

Let Our Destin Custody Lawyers Help You

In many cases, it is possible to resolve custody issues without the ruling of a judge. In others, a court case may be necessary to secure the best outcome for the child. At The Virga Law Firm, P.A., our Destin child custody attorneys will fight for you in the courtroom, and can negotiate an amicable custody agreement in cases where both parties remain cooperative.

No matter what your circumstances are, you can trust our Destin family law professionals at The Virga Law Firm, P.A. to advocate on your behalf. We know that custody cases can be emotional, but we promise to keep you informed and consider your best interests every step of the way.

Going through a divorce? Call (800) 822-5170 and let The Virga Law Firm, P.A. handle your custody case. We’re available 24/7 by phone or you can contact us online to schedule a consultation.