In Florida, when parents’ divorce, family court decides on a parenting-timesharing plan and division of responsibilities. A parenting plan dictates a child’s schedule with each parent while parental responsibility generally refers to the major decisions such as education and religion that must be made on behalf of children.
Mothers and fathers have equal rights to their children and the Courts’ primary focus is the children’s best interests. The Court will consider each parent’s capacity to care for and nurture a child’s development. To make this determination, the Court will consider both parents moral fitness, mental and physical health. Any evidence of domestic violence, sexual violence, child abuse, child abandonment, or child neglect is also considered a relevant factor.
Ultimately the focus of any child-centric case is the physical safety, mental health, and emotional well-being of each child. Therefore, if there is evidence that shared custody would be harmful to the child, then one parent may be granted sole parental responsibility or ultimate decision making authority. However, there must be good reason for the Court to grant this arrangement, and evidence must be clearly presented during trial.
Regarding where a child will reside, the Court may deem that a child splits their time equally between each residence. It may also rule that the child lives with one parent primarily while the other enjoys a limited amount of time with the children.
Overall, every case is unique and based on the particular circumstances of the divorcing family.