Custody Arrangements in a Florida Divorce

Rotating Custody A/K/A Split Custody of Minor Children
Child Custody Evaluations in Florida
FL Department of Children and Family Services: Change of Custody
Florida: Child Custody

Disagreement over custody is sure to put you in the middle of a bitter and expensive divorce.   Custody cases can be the cruelest and most destructive legal situations. Be sure that the children would be significantly better off with you before getting involved in an expensive and emotionally draining custody battle.  The best interest of the child is the legal standard in deciding who will get custody.  Every judge sees it differently.  The mother does not have an automatic edge in litigation in Florida. The fathers win in at least half of the litigated cases.

What's Below

Does custody always go to just one parent?

No. Courts frequently award at least some aspects of custody to both parents, called "joint custody." Joint custody usually takes at least one of three forms:

  • joint physical custody (children spend a relatively equal amount of time with each parent)
  • joint legal custody (medical, educational, religious and other decisions about the children are shared), or
  • both joint legal and joint physical custody.

In every state, courts are willing to order joint legal custody, but about half the states are reluctant to order joint physical custody unless both parents agree to it and they appear to be sufficiently able to communicate and cooperate with each other. In New Mexico and New Hampshire, courts are required to award joint custody except where the children's best interests -- or a parent's health or safety -- would be compromised. Many other states expressly allow their courts to order joint custody even if one parent objects to such an arrangement.

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Can someone other than the parents have physical or legal custody?

Sometimes neither parent can suitably assume custody of the children, perhaps because of a substance abuse or mental health problem. In these situations, others may be granted custody of the children or given a temporary guardianship or foster care arrangement by a court.

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