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
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
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.