Many divorcing families may be generally familiar with child custody but it can be useful to review how child custody decisions are made when a couple is facing divorce and is understandably concerned about child custody. During a divorce, child custody can be a concern that is on the top of the list for many divorcing couples so it helps to understand the process.
Child custody decisions are always based on what is in the best interests of the child. What is in the best interests of the child is a case-by-case consideration that can be based on the evaluation of a variety of different factors. Factors can range from the wishes of the child to the health of the parents and their ability to care for the child. Other factors, including the child’s connection to family, school and community, may also be considered.
Child custody comes in different forms and can include sole custody or joint custody. Both legal custody and physical custody concerns of the child must be resolved during the divorce process. Legal custody refers to who makes important decisions for the child such as their education, health care and religious upbringing. Physical custody refers to which parent the child primarily lives with. In Florida, shared custody is preferred unless the circumstances make it so that is not possible.
It is helpful for parents to understand the different child custody arrangements so that they can develop a child custody and visitation plan that is in the best interests of the child. When that is not possible, the family law court can step in to help the divorcing couples develop a child custody plan but the process is always focused on what is in the best interests of the child. Remaining focused on achieving that goal can allow for a child custody arrangement that is also best for the family facing the divorce process.