Sole Custody VS  Shared Custody in Florida

Conflicts over child custody are frequently ugly and challenging for everyone. In Florida, divorcing couples may struggle to decide who will have sole or joint custody of the kids. Here are some things Florida divorcees should be aware of when deciding who will get custody of the kids.

In Florida, the Difference Between Sole and Shared Custody

Divorce proceedings in Florida rarely follow a straight path from point A to point B, particularly when young children are involved. As a result, hearings regarding child custody in divorce cases may be nasty and difficult for all parties.

The most crucial choice is whether parents receive exclusive or joint custody of their children. It would be simple if both parents could agree outside of court on who gets custody and how much. But unfortunately, even when both partners believe that divorce is the only way to enhance their lives, this is not always the case.

The custody of the children—and whether it will be single or shared custody—must be decided even though the marriage may be dissolved.

Child custody arrangements: Sole custody vs. Joint custody

Both partners must agree on who will have custody of the children and to what extent before filing for divorce. If the spouses cannot decide, the court will choose based on the testimony heard at the hearing.

Shared custody versus sole custody

A parent granted sole custody of a child has full legal and physical custody of the child. Sole custody enables the parent to make all decisions regarding the child without seeking the ex’s input. Additionally, when the parent has sole physical custody, the child stays with them and is not required to reside with or visit the other parent.

When both parents have joint legal and physical custody of the children in question, this is referred to as shared custody. Each parent will have joint physical custody of the child and must consent to and approve all significant choices affecting the child.

There are only two categories of custody; however, they can be divided in four different ways:

  • Sole physical custody
  • Joint physical custody
  • Sole legal custody
  • Joint legal custody


How Are Decisions About Shared and Sole Custody Made in Florida Divorce Cases?

It can become challenging to determine how much physical or legal custody one parent receives over the other. For example, let’s say the parents’ disagreement prevents a mutual custody decision. In that situation, it could be necessary for a divorce attorney to become involved and help the couple come to a compromise before or after a court hearing.

In a heated divorce or custody battle, parents often have to defend their claim that they deserve increased or complete custody rights in front of a judge or mediator. The “tender years” doctrine favors women in custody disputes and is a common legal argument.

The custody determination cannot and should not be based solely on gender. Because of this, most Florida courts will instead follow the “best interest of the child” theory. Regardless of gender, both parents in this situation are equally entitled to custody. In a custody dispute, a skilled attorney can fight to defend the second theory of doing what is best for the kids.

A judge will consider the following factors while making a custody decision to determine what is best for the child. Then, the judge will decide how much legal and physical custody each parent will receive based on the evidence.

Before issuing a ruling, the judge will take into account several factors, including the following:

  • Will the child live in a secure environment?
  • Will the child be supervised both in and out of the house?
  • Will the child have their fundamental needs provided for?
  • Will the child get appropriate emotional support?
  • Who has traditionally been raising the child, and has the outcome been positive?
  • Is there any indication that either parent or those close to either has abused the child?
  • Does either parent engage in drug or alcohol abuse or associate with those who do?
  • Are there instances of child/domestic abuse?

The court will give that evidence significant weight if either parent can show that the other parent will not prioritize the child’s needs.

How does the Florida court decide child support?

If the parents cannot agree on child support, a court will decide in Florida. The money each parent makes is the primary consideration when determining child support. In Florida, the courts estimate how much the parents would have spent on the child collectively if they had remained married using an “income sharing model.” The money is then split between the parents according to their respective incomes.

The Florida Child Support Guidelines, which are contained in Florida’s 2012 legislation 61.30, must also be cited by Florida courts. Based on each parent’s income, the courts will use this statute to help determine how much child support each parent will be required to pay.

Usually, a court won’t order parents to pay more than their combined income. To do this, they use predetermined standards to define income.

The Effects of a Court Deciding a Child’s Custody

Unfortunately, while statutes assist the courts in determining how to divide child support and custody in divorce proceedings, unfavorable outcomes might occur following a custody disagreement. For instance, if one parent successfully persuades the courts to grant them full custody, the other parent may rapidly and abruptly lose all parental rights.

It might be challenging to fight for your parental rights. However, you can strengthen your case at a child custody court by working with an accomplished Brandon, Florida, child custody attorney.

No parent wants to subject their child to a protracted custody dispute. Legal representation from a professional can speed things up and lead to better outcomes.