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How Is Child Custody Determined in Miami?

how is child custody determined in miami

Going through a child custody battle can be an incredibly stressful and emotional experience for all parties involved. The well-being and future of your children are at stake, and it can be difficult to navigate the legal system on your own.

If you’re in Miami and wondering how child custody is determined, you’re not alone. This is a question that many parents face, and it’s essential to understand the factors that go into making this important decision.

In this blog, we’ll take a closer look at the process of determining child custody in Miami and provide some insight into what you can expect. We understand how challenging this situation can be, and we aim to provide you with the information and support you need to make the best decisions for your family.

Don’t hesitate to reach out to one of our Miami child custody lawyers for more help.

What to Know About Florida Child Custody Laws

The term “custody” is not used in Florida family law cases. Instead, the court refers to “parental responsibility” and “parenting time.”

When deciding on parental responsibilities and parenting time, Florida child custody laws require family courts to consider what is in the child’s best interests.

Courts will examine various factors, including each parent’s ability to provide for the child’s needs, current relationship with the child, financial resources, and many others.

In general, the default in Florida courts is shared parental responsibility. However, in rare cases where shared responsibility would be detrimental to the child, sole parental responsibility can be awarded. Although equal time-sharing is very common, Florida statutes do not specify a time-sharing default and the courts must find that any time-sharing schedule ordered is in the child’s best interest, including equal time-sharing.

“Best Interest of the Child” in Florida Child Custody Decisions

When it comes to parental responsibility decisions, the child’s best interests are of utmost importance.

But what does that mean?

Simply speaking, “best interests of the child” means that the court will make decisions in the child’s best interest, regardless of the parents’ preferences or desires.

The goal of the court is to ensure that the child has a stable and nurturing environment where their physical, emotional, and educational needs are met. Ultimately, judges will make a decision based on what they believe is best for the child, even if it means that one parent may not get the arrangement they desire.

Each case is unique and requires careful consideration from legal professionals on how best to approach it so everyone involved can be satisfied with the outcome.

Factors Considered by Courts in Determining Child Custody

When determining parental responsibility, Florida courts consider various factors.

Here are some of the most important factors that judges take into account:

  • Each parent’s ability to provide for the child’s physical, emotional, and developmental needs.
  • The moral fitness of the parents.
  • The mental and physical health of each parent.
  • The child’s preference, if the court deems the child to be of sufficient intelligence, understanding, and experience to express a preference.
  • Each parent’s willingness to encourage a relationship between the child and the other parent.
  • The stability of each parent’s home environment.
  • The parents’ ability to cooperate and communicate with each other regarding the child’s upbringing.
  • The parents’ involvement in the child’s education, extracurricular activities, and medical care.
  • Any history of abuse or neglect by either parent.
  • Any other factors that are relevant to the child’s best interests.

It’s important to note that every case is unique, and the factors the court considers may vary depending on the case’s specific circumstances. However, understanding these general factors can give you a better idea of what judges look for when making these decisions.

The Parenting Plan in Florida Family Courts

When determining parental responsibility and parenting time in Florida, the court requires parents to develop a parenting plan that outlines how they will share the responsibilities of raising their child. If they cannot develop one, the court will enter one.

What Is a Parenting Plan?

A parenting plan is a written agreement or court order between parents that outlines how they will share the rights and responsibilities of raising their child(ren) and includes a time-sharing schedule for regular time-sharing and holiday time-sharing.

The parenting plan must be comprehensive and address all aspects of the child’s upbringing, including:

  • Parental responsibility — How the parents will make major decisions about the child’s upbringing, such as education, medical care, and religious upbringing.
  • Parenting time — The schedule for when the child will spend time with each parent, including holidays and vacations.
  • Child Support – The amount of financial support required for the minor child’s care, maintenance, and education.
  • Transportation — How transportation and child exchanges will work.
  • Travel — How you will handle traveling out of state or country.
  • School designation — What schools the child will attend.

In Florida, parents are encouraged to work together to develop a parenting plan that is in the best interests of their child. If the parents cannot agree on a parenting plan, the court will order the parents to attend mediation to assist the parents in developing a parenting plan. If the parents still cannot agree, the parents will attend trial and the court will order a parenting plan.

Approval and Modification of the Parenting Plan

Once the parenting plan is complete, it must be approved by the court. The court will review the plan to ensure that it is in the best interests of the child. If the court approves the plan, it will become part of the final order.

If circumstances change, either parent may request a post-judgment modification to the parenting plan. To modify the plan, the parent must show that there has been a substantial change in circumstances that could not have been foreseen when the final order was entered. Further, the parent must show the substantial change is permanent in nature since the plan was last approved and that the modification is in the best interests of the child.

Secure Your Child’s Future — Call Vasquez de Lara Law Group

If you’re in the midst of a child custody battle in Miami, having an experienced and knowledgeable attorney on your side is essential. A skilled Miami child custody lawyer can help you navigate the legal system, protect your rights, and work toward the best possible outcome for your family.

At Vasquez de Lara Law Group in Miami, we understand how challenging this process can be, and we’re here to help. Whether you need help with parental responsibilities or parenting time, we’re here to help you fight for your rights and protect your children’s best interests.

Don’t face it alone. Contact us today and take the first step towards a brighter future for you and your family.

Author Bio

Vanessa Vasquez de Lara is the founder and owner of Vasquez de Lara Law Group, a Miami family law firm. With over 20 years of experience in family law, she has zealously represented clients in various legal matters, including divorces, child support, child custody, alimony, and other family law cases.

Vanessa received her Juris Doctor from the University of Miami School of Law in 2002 and is a member of the Florida Bar Association. She has received numerous accolades for her work, including being named to the 2015 Super Lawyers Rising Stars and the 2016-2023 Super Lawyers list.

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