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The Best Interests of the Child Standard in Custody Cases

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The Best Interests of the Child Standard in Custody Cases

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Melbourne Child Custody Attorney

Like every other court in the country, Florida judges will use the same exact standard in every single matter pertaining to child custody cases. Courts are interested in the welfare of the children first and foremost. While matters affecting the children can impact children as well, the courts will first consider the best interests of the children.

The best interests test is a very flexible one. Judges have the ability to consider any one of a number of factors to determine whether something is in the best interests of the child. These factors can include:

  • Each parent’s capacity to facilitate and encourage a parent-child relationship
  • The continuity of the child’s arrangements
  • The child’s previous relationship with the parent before a divorce
  • The child’s developmental stage
  • The physical, moral, and mental health and fitness of the parent
  • The physical location of the parents

These are just some factors on a very long list. Judges have the freedom to consider practically anything that will bear on the health, safety and well-being of the child. Two judges could reach different results with the same facts because of the flexibility of this test. The presumption is that the court wants both parents involved in the child’s life. However, if the parents cannot communicate, or if the child is in physical danger, the court may depart from that presumption.

The best interests standard is used in both initial custody determinations and modifications. Each party would need to fashion their own arguments through the lens of how it benefits the child, as opposed to how it benefits them.

Call a Melbourne Family Law Attorney

Your family law matter will benefit from the advice of an experienced Melbourne child custody attorney and their advocacy. Call Harnage Law PLLC at 321.549.7886 or reach out to us online to discuss your matter.