There are two aspects of child custody:
- legal custody, which is the parent’s responsibility for making decisions concerning a child’s well-being; and
- physical custody, which is the child’s bodily presence with their parents.
The court will take both into consideration when determining which parent should be awarded custody of their child.
The state of Florida favors joint custody, as it wants the child to grow up under the influence of both of parents’ if possible. However, the court will ultimately award custody based on the child’s best interests.
4 Types of Custody
Depending on the relationship each parent has with their child, a court will award custody of varying degrees to each. Or, in cases where one parent has been deemed unfit to raise their child, sole custody to the other parent. There are 4 main types of custody a court will use to decide where the child will do best.
The 4 types of custody are:
- Physical Custody: The right, granted by a court, for a parent to have the child live in their home. This is usually only awarded to both parents if they live near enough to each other that sharing physical custody wouldn’t be a burden for the child. If the parents don’t live near each other, only one parent will be granted physical custody, while the other will be granted rights.
- Legal Custody: The authority to make decisions regarding the child’s health, upbringing, and education. If one parent violates the other parent’s right to participate in the decision-making process, the other parent can take them to court.
- Joint Custody: The parents work together in the decision-making and raising of their child. They will create a schedule in which they split physical time spent with the child. As stated previously, this is the most ideal situation and the courts will usually try to rule in favor of joint custody.
- Sole Custody: The courts award exclusive legal and/or physical custody to one parent because they believe the other parent to be unfit. This could be due to a history of physical and emotional abuse or, perhaps, an addiction the other parent is battling.
Above all else, Florida courts rule in favor of what is best for the health and safety of the child. When deciding upon custody, they will consider both parents’ health and ability to care for their child. It can be challenging to reach a custody agreement with an ex, but the guidance of a child custody attorney can help a parent decide the correct course of action. If you cannot reach an amicable agreement with your ex, your attorney can also help mediate the situation to reach a resolution.
Contact Ada M. Barreto, P.A.
At Ada M. Barreto, P.A., our child custody lawyer has over 25 years of family law experience. She is a certified mediator who can work with you to determine a reasonable course of action for working out custody of your child.