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Florida Child Custody Laws

While the Sunshine State is a special place to start a romance, not all love stories have the happiest endings. And when these endings involve children, we have to figure out which laws will apply to our child custody cases. This is a brief summary of child custody laws in Florida.

Child Custody Laws

Child custody laws vary from state to state, so it's important for parents to explore their state's specific custody rules and regulations. These laws typically lay out how child custody decisions are reached, how joint custody works, and whether visitation rights should be granted. Florida’s custody laws comply with the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (PDF).

Florida Child Custody Statutes

For more general information on child custody laws, take a look at our article on state child custody laws. Below, you'll find information on Florida's child custody laws, including whether the child's wishes are considered, whether joint custody is an option, and whether grandparents have visitation rights.

Code Section

61.13

Year Uniform Child Custody Act Adopted

1977

Joint Custody an Option?

Yes, §61.13(2)(b)2 "shared"

Grandparent Visitation Rights Recognized?

Yes, §61.13(2)(c),(6),(7)

Child's Own Wishes Considered?

Yes

Florida Custody Hearings

If you and your ex cannot come to an agreement on custody, you may have to attend a custody hearing before a judge, who will decide the custody arrangement based on your child’s best interests. Florida child custody courts are permitted to consider any relevant factors to this determination, and give more consideration to factors that will affect your child’s health and safety. Some of these factors will focus on the parents, like:

  • Who is more likely to take care of the daily physical, emotional, developmental, educational and special needs of your child;
  • Who is more likely to maintain a loving, stable, consistent and nurturing relationship with your child; and
  • Who is more likely to encourage and allow frequent contact between your child and the other parent.

The court can also consider factors that focus on your child, like his or her preference (if he or she is old enough), his or her relationships with any siblings, and the need for stability and continuity in his or her education, community, and family life. The court can also consider whether either parent has a history of drug or alcohol abuse, any past or present physical abuse, and certain criminal charges and convictions.

Florida Family Laws Related Resources:

Child custody matters are never easy, and you may find it helpful to speak to attorney. You can contact a Florida family law attorney in your area to discuss your case. You can also find additional information in FindLaw's Child Custody section.

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