The Florida Statutes specifically state that "the best interest of the child(ren) shall be the primary consideration." The statutes also say that "the court shall order that the parental responsibility for a minor child be shared by both parents unless the court finds that shared parental responsibility would be detrimental to the child.
Determination of the best interests of the child shall be made by evaluating all of the factors affecting the welfare and interests of the particular minor child including these factors:
The demonstrated capacity and disposition of each parent to determine, consider, and act upon the needs of the child as opposed to the needs or desires of the parent.
The moral fitness of the parents.
The mental and physical health of the parents.
The reasonable preference of the child, if the court deems the child to be of sufficient intelligence, understanding, and experience to express a preference.
The demonstrated knowledge, capacity, and disposition of each parent to be informed of the circumstances of the minor child, including, but not limited to, the child’s friends, teachers, medical care providers, daily activities, and favorite things.
The demonstrated capacity and disposition of each parent to provide a consistent routine for the child, such as discipline, and daily schedules for homework, meals, and bedtime.
Evidence of domestic violence, sexual violence, child abuse, child abandonment, or child neglect, regardless of whether a prior or pending action relating to those issues has been brought.
The demonstrated capacity and disposition of each parent to participate and be involved in the child’s school and extracurricular activities.
The demonstrated capacity and disposition of each parent to maintain an environment for the child which is free from substance abuse.
The developmental stages and needs of the child and the demonstrated capacity and disposition of each parent to meet the child’s developmental needs.
Any other factor that is relevant to the determination of a specific parenting plan, including the time-sharing schedule.
Best wishes. Dana E. Quigley, Esq.
Please note that answers to these questions and/or comments are not intended to be legal advice and are for informational purposes only. This response does not create any attorney-client relationship. This answer and/or comment is based on minimal facts and the response or comment to the same may change if other factors are discovered. As such, this is a general response and/or comment that should not be relied on as legal advice. Please contact an attorney who can provide a full assessment of your case.
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