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The Basics of Florida Child Custody Law



Each state has its own specific laws regarding child custody. Under Florida law, child custody is determined by the courts in accordance with whats in the best interests of the child as per the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act. These laws address both the legal and physical care of children whose parents are divorcing or for parents that have never been married.

Florida Law: Child Custody Basics

Child custody refers to the care, control, and maintenance of a minor. Child custody laws in Florida help determine which parent gets legal and physical custody. A parent with legal custody of a child can make educational, religious, medical, and disciplinary decisions. Through these laws, the courts will also decide who gets physical custody. The courts determine who gets physical custody to establish where a child will live.

There are two types of custody arrangements in the state of Florida. Child custody can be awarded to one parent (known as sole custody) or to both parents (known as joint custody).

With sole custody, one parent gets legal and physical custody of a child. In a joint custody situation, both parents share legal and physical child custody. In Florida, joint custody is called shared parental responsibility, and both parents must approve all decisions related to the child. In this situation, one parent is named the primary joint custodian and the other parent is granted visitation so the child has a primary residence, school, and a designated primary physician.

Florida Child Support

Child custody laws in Florida include a set of child support guidelines that must be followed when determining the amount of money allotted to raising a child. Generally, the court will look at the joint income of the parents and the number of children involved when determining how much support to issue. Sometimes the courts will allocate a part of the parents assets and place them into a trust or fund for education or other forms of support.

There are circumstances when child support payments can be changed. For example, if one parent suddenly has an increase or decrease in income, the court can modify child support payments. A Florida court could also change the amount of child support provided if a childs financial needs suddenly increase, which can occur if there are increased costs due to medical bills or schooling.

Because Florida receives federal public assistance funds, the state has established Floridas Child Support Enforcement Program to ensure children get financial support from both parents. The Child Support Enforcement Program also implements the Child Support Automated Management System (CAMS), an automated child support enforcement system. Families that do and do not receive federal public assistance can use the services.

Parents must pay child support until the child either finishes high school or turns 19 years old.

Under Florida law, child custody and child support are regulated to protect the rights of the child and the parent. Even if a divorce is amicable, each parent should seek help from a qualified lawyer to insure the best outcome for all involved.