It is not uncommon for a parent’s prime objective during divorce to obtain custody of their children. What they usually do not know, however, is that there are different types of custody: physical and legal.
When most parents think of child custody, they think of the right to have their child live with them on a daily basis. This is known as physical custody. On the flipside, legal custody is a parent’s right to make important decisions on a child’s behalf regarding their wellbeing, education, religious upbringing, health, and more.
How are Physical and Legal Custody Determined in Florida?
Divorcing parents in Florida have the ability to decide the separation of these powers on their own, though the court may step in and issue a decision on their behalf if they should be unable to reach an agreement. Joint custody arrangements are highly favored, as it is generally accepted within the legal community that having both of a child’s parents involved in his or her upbringing is in a child’s best interests. With that being said, certain circumstances may arise which prompt judges to set up these powers differently.
Family courts will take the following into consideration when dividing custodial powers:
- The child’s physical, developmental, and emotional needs
- The parents’ living situations and employment
- The living situations of siblings
- The child’s desires, if of suitable age
- Each parent’s history of abuse or neglect
If sole physical custody should be granted to one parent, the other will typically be granted rights to visitation or “parenting time” allowing them to see their children on a regular basis. Only in rare occurrences when a parent’s influence is deemed detrimental to a child’s best wellbeing or they are otherwise unwilling to provide care will both physical and legal custody be awarded to the other parent.
Simplify Your Custody Dispute with Swanson Law Center, P.A.
Regardless of the circumstances, due to the oftentimes heated nature of custody disputes, it is important for divorcing or separating parents to consult with a knowledgeable attorney to maximize their chances of securing a favorable outcome. At Swanson Law Center, P.A., our Gainesville family lawyers have been guiding parents through their complex custody disputes for more than 30 years and can provide the strong advocacy you need to pursue an amicable resolution.
Call (352) 480-0088 or contact us online today to schedule your confidential case review.