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Shared custody may not mean equal custody

Parents in Florida may be granted joint or shared physical custody of their children upon a divorce. Physical custody is the type of custody that has to do with where a child will live after their parents separate or divorce. While it is possible for a parent to receive sole physical custody of their child, it is not uncommon for both parents to be awarded this important form of responsibility over their shared children.

However, children are not a commodity that parents may equally split and enjoy. In fact, in some cases courts may find that continuously moving a child back and forth between the homes of their parents is detrimental to their well-being. To this end, shared or joint physical custody does not necessarily mean that a child will spend equal time with their parents, but rather that both of their parents have the right to have the child live with them in their homes.

For example, a court may find that a child's father lives significantly closer to their school than their mother. It may serve the child's needs more efficiently to have the child reside with their father when school is in session to reduce the travel time they must endure and to allow them to have a less arduous daily journey back home at the end of the day. The mother may have custody of the child on weekends or over school breaks - both parents may have physical custody, but may be able to offer their child different types of support based on the child's needs.

It is important that courts have accurate information about the needs and priorities of parents and children when making physical custody decisions. Individuals can seek the advice of their own attorneys to better prepare themselves for the child custody hearings that lay before them.

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