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Factors Considered by Florida Courts When Deciding Child Custody

Child custody is meant to be assigned only to parents that a family law court has deemed capable of safely and responsibly raising a child. While Florida family law judges typically want to assign joint custody to make everyone’s lives easier, sometimes this will not be the case. Sometimes one parent is found to be unable to raise his or her child, and primary or sole custody is given to the other parent. This is a fairly dramatic conclusion to reach, and so the court will carefully weigh several factors before making its decision.

Factors commonly considered by a court when setting child custody are:

  • Financial situation: Even when a fair amount of child support is established between two ex-spouse, raising a child as a primary custodian is not cheap. The court needs to consider how much financial stability each parent has and could have in an emergency situation.
  • Home or household: A parent trying to win child custody of more than one child will need to have the living space to accommodate them. The court will also consider who stayed in the family home during divorce, and generally tends to lean towards that parent as the new primary custodian to keep things simpler.
  • Health: The overall physical and mental health of both parents and the child must be weighed carefully. A parent who is bedridden, for example, will not be able to handle full parenting responsibilities, no matter what other factors are in his or her favor.
  • Child’s preference: A court may ask a child directly which parent he or she would like to live with after the divorce ends. This option is usually for teenage children only, as it is believed they will have had the time to develop their own personalities and opinions that can be trusted.
  • Criminal history: A history of violence, drug or alcohol abuse, and other criminal activities will push the court’s decision away from the parent in question, especially if there is evidence of domestic violence.

None of the aforementioned factors are guaranteed to persuade or dissuade a family law judge to rule in one way or another. Everything is open to some extent of interpretation and negotiation. If you want to secure a child custody agreement that works best for you and your child, you should start by discussing your options with a Florida divorce attorney who can formulate your argument for you. Our Fort Myers family lawyers you’ll find at Your Advocates have the experience – 54+ total years’ worth – and the compassion to see you through this sensitive matter.

Talk to someone on our team for free by calling 239.970.6844 or contacting us online.

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