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Determining custody: Understanding Florida law

Child custody arrangements are an important step to complete for the safety and health of your child after divorce. You want to dictate who has your child when and be able to describe your time sharing and responsibilities clearly. Doing this now makes it easier if you need to dispute a problem in the future.

Florida calls custody "time sharing" and "parental responsibility," so don't be confused if you see that in your legal documents. The way it works is that parental responsibility refers to your legal right to make decisions on behalf of your child. Time sharing refers to who has physical time with the child and when.

Since around 2014, it has become normal for parents to share equal custody. This is the preferred result, but that doesn't mean it's a requirement. If there is a reason that you don't believe the other parent should have equal time with your child, you have a right to say so and to back up your claims with evidence.

The Florida family courts want to see results that are in the best interests of the children involved in divorce cases. The court considers things like your ability to provide for your child monetarily, emotionally and physically. The court may consider how a time-sharing schedule affects each parent and who has the most time for the child. The court also looks at how you and your spouse act, making sure you can be reasonable with one another. Our site has more about what you need to know if you're going to court over custody.

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