Child custody issues will follow many divorces, paternity tests, or other disputes between parents. Because the parents will have to make arrangements to reorganize their schedules and deal with other disruptions, custody proceedings can be very argumentative and become a serious source of stress. The services of a Destin child custody lawyer is one of the only ways to make this process easier. Furthermore, having a good understanding of the best interests of the child standard that will be used by a judge is crucial to succeeding in a custody hearing.
Parenting plans in Florida
Throughout the state of Florida, a judge will determine custody by creating a plan for the parents to have custody at certain times based on the “best interests of the child.” This standard is somewhat vague, yet it is one of the only concrete things that can be known before a custody hearing. As a general rule, the parent with more financial stability and a lack of problems with things like mental health or criminal charges will be awarded primary custody. However, this can be frustrating because family court judges have a lot of discretion and there is no exact set of rules that will guide their decisions.
Specific examples of the child’s best interests
There is a section in the Florida statutes that lists the guidelines for determining the best interests of the child that judges will use. While they still offer judges a lot of room to use their own judgment, there are a few basic points that can be taken away from this language:
- The judge needs to make decisions regarding who can best provide necessary resources like food, clothing, and medical care
- The child should be in an environment that is safe, which includes avoiding any additional stressors related to mental and emotional well-being
- Courts should look to keep the child in a stable environment for an extended period of time, rather than subject them to numerous disruptions or changes in custody
- The child’s own wishes can be a factor if they are old enough to express a preference
- Any special medical or educational needs the child may have and the best way to provide this type of care and assistance
The services of a custody lawyer
One of the best ways to deal with the problem of not knowing how a custody hearing will resolve is to prepare with an experienced Destin custody attorney. They can help you organize all of the information relevant to your parenting skills and career trajectory, and present it in a way that will meet all of the criteria that correspond to the best interests of the child standard. Many local attorneys are also familiar with the family court judges, which can take some of the uncertainty away before you ever set foot in their courtroom.
Get help from a custody attorney in your area today
For more information about custody issues, divorce, and any other family law problems, contact ASG Legal. They can provide advice and representation in Destin and nearby parts of north Florida.