Fla. Stat. 61.13 child custody factors
In Florida the term “child custody” is not used except in special cases such as when a parent is in jail, a parent cannot care for a minor child due to severe mental or physical illness, a parent has been adjudicated guilty of child abuse, sexual abuse, or domestic violence, or a parent has an active history of drug or alcohol abuse. If one or both parents are found to have the above strikes against them, then Family Court will give full care “custody” to the non-offending parent. If both parents are proven unable to care for the minor child, a third party such as a grandparent or foster parent will be awarded custody.
Instead of the word “custody,” the term “shared parenting” or“parental timesharing” is used. In either case, Florida Family Court has drawn up a list of l9 factors that a judge must consider before determining the outcome for a minor child’s care. These 19 child custody factors can be found in Florida Statute 61:13 and are paraphrased as follows:
- To show the ability to carry out a continuing and close parent-child relationship and to honor the timesharing schedule. When changes to the schedule are necessary, the parents should be willing to understand.
- How has the division of time and responsibility been shared, prior to the final judgment, for the child? This includes the amount of time a third party, such as daycare, has been involved in the child’s care.
- Proven ability of the parent to put the needs of the child before their own and thus make decisions in the best interest of the child.
- What length of time has the child lived in a stable, satisfactory environment, and should this arrangement continue?
- What is the best way to word a parenting plan that will take into account travel time between parents’ living locations? This is especially important for very young children and teenagers.
- Moral behavior of parents
- The physical and mental health of each parent.
- History of the child’s behavior at school, at home, and in the community.
- If the child is old enough and has enough experience and intelligence to make a thoughtful request, his or her preference for timesharing or custody arrangements will be taken into account.
- How much understanding of the child in areas such as friends, school, teachers, favorite foods, extracurricular activities, and desired surroundings does each parent have?
- Can the parent provide a consistent timeframe for routines such as meals, bedtime, homework, and discipline?
- Have the parents demonstrated the ability to respect each other, willingly communicate, and provide a unified front on major issues involving the child?
- In prior or pending actions, is there evidence of child abuse, child abandonment, neglect, or sexual or domestic violence?
- Evidence either parent has given false information to the court.
- Who is performing daily parenting tasks both parents, one parent, or a third party?
- Demonstrated interaction with a child’s school, social life, and extracurricular activities.
- Each parent must demonstrate his or her ability to provide an environment free from substance abuse.
- Proof that neither parent will speak unkindly about the other parent and that the proceedings of the case will not be told about or discussed with the child.
- Proven knowledge by each parent that he or she has knowledge regarding child developmental stages and the subsequent needs of the child.
If you have questions regarding Florida child custody factors and live in Palm Beach, Martin, St. Lucie, Miami-Dade, Broward, Orange, or Hillsborough County, Family Law Attorney Grant Gisondo has over 10 years of experience helping parents understand and comply with the required factors. He offers a free, initial, in-office consultation where he can answer your questions and share how he can help. You can call 561-530-4568 to make an appointment. His office hours are Monday through Friday from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM and, for new clients, on Saturday from 8:30 AM to 1:00 PM.