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For parents facing child custody concerns in Florida, it can be helpful to be familiar with the child custody process and how it works. Understanding how child custody is determined in Florida can help parents reach a child custody arrangement that is best for their child and works best for their family.

Florida child custody determinations are made based on what is in the best interests of the child. If the parents are unable to agree to a child custody agreement, the family law court will evaluate factors to determine what child custody arrangement will be in the child’s best interest. In doing so, the family law court will evaluate factors that are considered relevant and focus on the health, safety and well-being of the child.

Factors the court may consider can include which parent is more likely to care for the child’s daily physical, emotional, developmental, educational and special needs; which parent is most likely to maintain a loving, nurturing, stable and consistent relationship with the child; which parent is likely to encourage and permit frequent contact between the child and the other parent; the child’s relationship with siblings; continuity in the child’s family life, education and community; the child’s preference based on the child’s age; and any history of abuse or criminality.

These factors are important to understand because they may help determine the best child custody arrangement. Understanding how the family law court arrives at what is in the best interests of the child can help parents do so as well, as parents are encouraged to work together to reach a child custody arrangement, however, when they are unable to, the family law court provides tools to help.