Divorce is rarely an easy process for any couple, and is especially complicated for parents who choose to end their marriage. While it is relatively simple to get married, the law requires couples to make many agreements about how to divide their assets and liabilities as well as how to raise children in their family.
For many divorcing parents, reaching a fair custody agreement is the most difficult part of the process. In most cases, courts that oversee divorce and custody issues prefer for parents to create their own custody agreements, because they are the ones who best know the needs and preferences of their child.
However, if a court does not believe that a custody agreement meets the needs of the child above meeting the needs of the parents, it may choose to issue a more suitable custody order. For most parents, it is much better to create a good custody agreement than to leave the matter in the hands of a court.
If you and your spouse are facing divorce that involves children, it is wise to take the time and effort necessary to build your custody agreement together. With a clear understanding of the issues that courts use to evaluate custody agreements, you can help your child transition into a new chapter of life while keeping your rights in Florida protected.
Factors that courts consider in child custody
In general terms, a child custody agreement should reflect both parents’ desire to give their child the best life they can provide. As you examine your circumstances, this may include many aspects of your child’s life, such as:
- Which parent can provide the most stable home environment
- Educational needs of the child
- Medical needs of the child
- Community connections that help give the child stability
- Access to close family, such as grandparents
- Any special needs that the child may have
- The age of the child
- The child’s preferences
It is also important to consider how each parent’s behavior and their relationship to the child may affect court’s decision. Courts look at issues like:
- Dangerous behavior by a parent
- Drug abuse
- Unreasonably strict or harmful discipline
- Religious preferences of each parent
- The ability of each parent to provide for the child
Building your family’s future
While the divorce process is often difficult, it is also an opportunity to work with your spouse to put your child and their needs first. Making this a priority not only improves the chances that a court will approve the custody agreement you create, it also shows your child that you care for them and their needs, even when times are hard.
Be sure to use the legal guidance and resources that you need to navigate this difficult season as you work toward giving the child you love the best life that you can.