NAPLES, Florida. When two parents get divorced, or when two parents choose to not reside with one another, child custody decisions must be made. Parents can choose to make child custody decisions on their own if they can reach an agreement outside of court. In most instances, it is often best when parents can reach a parenting plan agreement on their own, outside of court, with the assistance of a child custody lawyer. When parents take their cases before a judge, there is always a risk that the judge will make a child custody decision that neither parent wants. However, when parents cannot agree on a parenting plan outside of court, or when one parent has been convicted of domestic violence or another crime, sometimes child custody decisions must be brought before a judge. How are child custody decisions made in this case?
Child custody decisions in Florida are based on the “best interests of the child” standard. Under this standard, the judge may review several factors to determine what is in the child’s best interests. These factors include a review of each parent’s capacity to act in the child’s best interests and to meet the child’s needs. The mental and physical health of each parent may be considered as well as the ability of each parent to provide the child with a stable home environment. Courts may look for consistency, and review how well informed each parent is regarding the life of the children. Finally, crimes, domestic violence, and other past history may also be considered when reviewing what might be in the child’s best interests. In some instances, the child’s preferences may be considered.
Because the best interests of the child rubric can be a rather broad mandate, many parents understandably have questions about how their child custody decisions will be made. For example, according to the American Bar, military parents may wonder whether their military service will result in their denial of custody. While military service won’t bar a parent from receiving custody, the courts will understandably want to know how one parent’s military service will affect their ability to parent. For example, will the parent be away for long periods of time? Another factor the courts might consider is your child’s own preference. The judge will consider the child’s maturity and his or her reasons for choosing to live with one parent over another. Then again, a child’s wishes alone won’t be the sole factor a judge will consider.
Child custody questions can be among the most emotionally-fraught aspect of any divorce or separation. In general, many parents will make decisions about custody outside of court, with the help of an attorney. The child custody lawyers at Long & Alguadich, P.L.L.C. in Naples, Florida work closely with families facing these tough questions. Every family’s child custody situation is unique. How the best interests of the child standard will play a role in your specific case is best determined by a qualified lawyer. Visit the child custody attorneys at https://lanaples.com/ to learn more about your rights and options under the law.
 

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