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When children are part of a divorce, it complicates every aspect, especially emotional recovery. Fighting for custody of your children may seem like an uphill battle, but understanding some of the basics may help.

Florida law allows for both parents to share legal custody or one parent to request sole custody. Regardless of custody, both parents may still have the opportunity to spend time visiting with the children. Find out a bit more about how the Sunshine State handles child custody and visitation in divorce.

Shared parental responsibility

Florida family law judges consider what is in the best interests of the children when determining legal custody. Unless there is a reason to award one parent custody, most award joint or shared parental responsibility. This determination allows both parents to maintain legal guardianship of the children, with each having the ability to make decisions regarding education, religion and medical care. One parent becomes the primary custodian for the purpose of school zoning, but other than that, both parents are equal in the eyes of the law.

Sole custody

In some circumstances, the children’s best interests lie with only one parent. There are a variety of reasons why a judge may decide that only one parent have legal custody, such as:

  • Criminal record
  • Domestic violence
  • Psychological instability
  • Economic definiciencies

When a judge agrees to sole custody, only the parent that receives it may make decisions for the children. The other parent may not remove the children from school without the written permission of the sole guardian.

Family law judges prefer parents to see parents agree on custody and visitation without intervention. Doing so proves to the court that the parents are also putting the children first.