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How do Florida courts address issue of joint custody, shared parenting?

In Florida, as in other states, courts make decisions about child custody with the primary aim of ensuring the best interests of the child are met in any given arrangement. In Florida, the public policy is that minor children continue to have frequent and continuing contact with both parents after divorce, and courts will order shared parental responsibility unless it can be shown that doing so would be detrimental to the child.

In cases where shared parental responsibility would be detrimental, courts may order sole parental responsibility. One important aspect of Florida law, though, is that shared parental responsibility can be tailored to the needs of each family. Courts may divide responsibilities among parents and give one parent ultimate responsibility for certain areas of the child’s care, such as education or health care. 

There are a variety of factors courts look at to determine whether shared parental responsibility would be appropriate for a divorcing couple. Clear examples would be cases where there is domestic violence, where one parent is mentally unstable, or where one parent has a poor history of providing consistent, quality care for a child. Another example might be where one, or both, parents are simply unable to work well together in caring for the child. This can be an issue in contentious divorce cases.

Whether parents share joint custody for a child or one has sole responsibility and the other has visitation time, parents need to learn to work together to ensure the wellness of the child. One of the issues that can come up in contentious cases is alienation of affection.

In our next post, we’ll look a bit closer at alienation of affection, what parents can do to overcome it, and how an experienced attorney can help address this problem when it arises.

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