Who Gets Child Custody in Florida?
Like most states, child custody law determinations in Florida are determined in accordance with the overall best interest of the child as defined in Title VI, Ch, 61, §61.13 et seq..
Jurisdiction to Determine Child Custody in Florida
§61.13 (2)(a) The court shall have jurisdiction to determine custody, notwithstanding that the child is not physically present in this state at the time of filing any proceeding under this chapter, if it appears to the court that the child was removed from this state for the primary purpose of removing the child from the jurisdiction of the court in an attempt to avoid a determination or modification of custody.
Florida Child Custody Determinations, Best Interest of the Child, and UCCJE
§61.13 (2)(b)1. The court shall determine all matters relating to custody of each minor child of the parties in accordance with the best interests of the child and in accordance with the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act. It is the public policy of this state to assure that each minor child has frequent and continuing contact with both parents after the parents separate or the marriage of the parties is dissolved and to encourage parents to share the rights and responsibilities, and joys, of childrearing. After considering all relevant facts, the father of the child shall be given the same consideration as the mother in determining the primary residence of a child irrespective of the age or sex of the child.
Absent Detriment Preference towards Shared Parenting Florida Child Custody Law
§61.13 (2)(b)2. The court shall order that the parental responsibility for a minor child be shared by both parents unless the court finds that shared parental responsibility would be detrimental to the child. Evidence that a parent has been convicted of a felony of the third degree or higher involving domestic violence, as defined in s. 741.28 and chapter 775, or meets the criteria of s. 39.806(1)(d), creates a rebuttable presumption of detriment to the child. If the presumption is not rebutted, shared parental responsibility, including visitation, residence of the child, and decisions made regarding the child, may not be granted to the convicted parent. However, the convicted parent is not relieved of any obligation to provide financial support. If the court determines that shared parental responsibility would be detrimental to the child, it may order sole parental responsibility and make such arrangements for visitation as will best protect the child or abused spouse from further harm. Whether or not there is a conviction of any offense of domestic violence or child abuse or the existence of an injunction for protection against domestic violence, the court shall consider evidence of domestic violence or child abuse as evidence of detriment to the child.
Shared Parental Responsibility and Primary Residence Determination Factors
§61.13 (3) For purposes of shared parental responsibility and primary residence, the best interests of the child shall include an evaluation of all factors affecting the welfare and interests of the child, including, but not limited to:
(a) The parent who is more likely to allow the child frequent and continuing contact with the nonresidential parent.
(b) The love, affection, and other emotional ties existing between the parents and the child.
(c) The capacity and disposition of the parents to provide the child with food, clothing, medical care or other remedial care recognized and permitted under the laws of this state in lieu of medical care, and other material needs.
(d) The length of time the child has lived in a stable, satisfactory environment and the desirability of maintaining continuity.
(e) The permanence, as a family unit, of the existing or proposed custodial home.
(f) The moral fitness of the parents.
(g) The mental and physical health of the parents.
(h) The home, school, and community record of the child.
(i) The reasonable preference of the child, if the court deems the child to be of sufficient intelligence, understanding, and experience to express a preference.
(j) The willingness and ability of each parent to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing parent-child relationship between the child and the other parent.
(k) Evidence that any party has knowingly provided false information to the court regarding a domestic violence proceeding pursuant to s. 741.30.
(l) Evidence of domestic violence or child abuse.
(m) Any other fact considered by the court to be relevant.
Failure to Pay Support and Refusal to Allow Contact/Visitation
§61.13 (4)(a) When a noncustodial parent who is ordered to pay child support or alimony and who is awarded visitation rights fails to pay child support or alimony, the custodial parent shall not refuse to honor the noncustodial parent's visitation rights.
Failure to Allow Contact/Visitation and Refusal to Pay Support
§61.13 (4)(b) When a custodial parent refuses to honor a noncustodial parent's visitation rights, the noncustodial parent shall not fail to pay any ordered child support or alimony.
Ability to Pay Child Support and Specific Orders Affecting Custody and Care of Child
§61.13 (5) The court may make specific orders for the care and custody of the minor child as from the circumstances of the parties and the nature of the case is equitable and provide for child support in accordance with the guidelines in s. 61.30. An award of shared parental responsibility of a minor child does not preclude the court from entering an order for child support of the child.
HIV Not a Relevant Factor for Child Custody, Visitation, or Shared Parenting
§61.13 (6) In any proceeding under this section, the court may not deny shared parental responsibility, custody, or visitation rights to a parent or grandparent solely because that parent or grandparent is or is believed to be infected with human immunodeficiency virus; but the court may condition such rights upon the parent's or grandparent's agreement to observe measures approved by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of the United States Public Health Service or by the Department of Health for preventing the spread of human immunodeficiency virus to the child.
Age and Sex of Child Should Not be the Sole Reason to Deny Overnight Contact
§61.13 (7) If the court orders that parental responsibility, including visitation, be shared by both parents, the court may not deny the noncustodial parent overnight contact and access to or visitation with the child solely because of the age or sex of the child.
Florida Child Custody Laws: Florida Statutes and Family Code
CHAPTER 61: DISSOLUTION OF MARRIAGE, SUPPORT, CUSTODY
|Adjudication of obligation to support spouse or minor child unconnected with dissolution; child custody, child's primary residence, and visitation
|Child custody evaluations; presumption of psychologist's good faith; prerequisite to parent's filing suit; award of fees, costs, reimbursement
|Custody and support of children; visitation rights; power of court in making orders
|Parental relocation with a child
|Attorney's fees, suit money, and costs
|Mediation of certain contested issues
|Social investigation and recommendations when child custody is in issue
|Parenting course authorized; fees; required attendance authorized; contempt
|Appointment of guardian ad litem
|Qualifications of guardians ad litem
|Guardians ad litem; powers and authority
|Guardians ad litem; confidentiality
|Guardians ad litem; immunity
|Court order of visitation or custody; risk of violation; bond
Click Here for Florida Family Code
How Can I Get Florida Child Custody Help?
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The in-person coaching sessions are designed for parents who prefer face-to-face meetings and are held in Orange County California. Southern California residents in Orange County, Los Angeles, Ventura, Long Beach, Riverside, San Bernardino, and San Diego will often request to discuss their matters with me in-person. In-person coaching sessions are held in the Mission Viejo area or Costa Mesa area in South Orange County California and are an option made available to persons who can travel to one of these two locations. For full details about fees and how to get started click here.
Monthly coaching is designed to provide ongoing coaching and support throughout the month and provides for an economical way of receiving such support on matters such as divorce, child custody, move-aways, post-judgment modifications, child custody evaluations, etc. Fees are known up front so there are no surprises. This also allows you to choose the plan that is right for you and also works within your budget. Weekly coaching sessions and email communications allow you to discuss your child custody matters, developments, and results regularly throughout the month. For full details on fees and how to get started click here.