What are the Different Types of Custody in Florida?
If you are getting a divorce and you have children with your spouse, you must resolve child custody issues before finalizing your case. Many people think they know what to expect from child custody proceedings, and it is only when they are actually going through it that they realize how complex the issue can become. One factor people are often unaware of is that there are two different types of child custody in Florida.
In the Sunshine State, a parent can be awarded either physical or legal custody, or both. These two types of custody are very different from one another and if you are getting a divorce, it is critical that you understand the two different terms.
What is Legal Custody or Legal Responsibility?
Legal custody refers to the ability to make important decisions for the child. These may include decisions pertaining to the religion the child is raised in, as well as the medical care and education the child will receive. The courts always start any case with the presumption that it is in the child’s best interests for both parents to have joint legal custody. However, if joint legal custody is not in the child’s best interests, the court will award one parent sole legal custody.
What is Physical Custody?
Just as the name implies, physical custody refers to where the child will live and which parent will spend the majority of time with them. Decades ago, mothers were usually awarded physical custody because they traditionally stayed home to take care of the kids and were the primary caregiver. Today, though, more men are staying home to raise the kids while women go into the workforce and are the primary breadwinner of the home. As such, the courts presume that it is in the best interests of the children for both parents to have joint physical custody, unless there are extenuating circumstances.
Joint physical custody must be practical in order to work, but that is not always the case. In these cases, the court will award primary custody to one parent while awarding the other parent secondary custody. It is only in the rarest of circumstances, such as when a parent has a history of domestic violence, that a court will only award supervised visitation, or none at all.
How is Child Custody Determined?
In the best of cases, parents can reach an agreement on child custody. As long as the agreement is fair, a court will approve it. If parents cannot reach an agreement, the matter will go to trial and a judge will make all of the decisions. The court will only consider what is in the best interests of the children when making decisions about legal and physical custody.
Our Tampa Child Custody Attorneys Will Advise You On Your Case
If you are getting a divorce or have another child custody issue such as a paternity action, our experienced attorneys can help. At All Family Law Group, P.A., our Tampa child custody attorneys will negotiate with your spouse to reach an agreement, and help you modify or enforce an existing order. Call us now at 813-672-1900 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation and to learn more. Se habla Español.