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Child Custody in Polk County, Florida

In Florida, the court will make child custody decisions based on what is in the best interest of the child if the parents can’t come to an agreement. The court will order that parental responsibility be shared by both parents unless the court finds that shared parental responsibility would be detrimental to the child. In that case, the court may order sole parental responsibility as will best protect the child. The court may give one parent ultimate responsibility over specific aspects of a child’s welfare, such as primary residence, education, or medical and dental care. In deciding which parent should have primary residence, the court will consider:

(1) Which parent is more likely to allow the child frequent and continuing contact with the nonresidential parent ;
(2) The love ,affection and other emotional ties between the parents and the child;
(3) ¬†Each parent’s ability to provide the child with food, clothing, medical care and other material needs;
(4) The length of time the child has lived in a stable, satisfactory environment and the desirability of
maintaining continuity;
(5) The permanence of the existing or proposed custodial home;
(6) The moral fitness of the parents;
(7) The mental and physical health of the parents;
(8) The home ,school and community record of the child;
(9) The reference of the child, if the child is intelligent, understanding and experienced enough to
express a preference;
(10) Evidence of domestic violence or child abuse;

After the custody order is signed by the judge and filed with the court clerk, both parents are bound by it. If a parent is denied court-ordered access to a child, he or she may bring the issue back before the court. The judge may decide to modify the visitation order, order makeup visitation for the time missed and order counseling or mediation.

Terminology

Shared Parental Responsibility
Shared parental responsibility is a relationship where both of the parents retain full parental rights and responsibilities with respect to their children. The parties should confer and discuss on such issues as schooling, health, religion, the child’s activities and any other issue regarding the welfare of the minor child. These major decisions should be made jointly after a full discussion of each of the parent’s concerns.

Primary Residential Parent
Under the current laws of the State of Florida each parent has an equal right to be declared the primary residential custodian of the minor child. The Court will consider what is in the best interests and welfare of the minor child when it determines which parent will be designated the primary residential parent and which will be designated the secondary residential parent. The primary residential parent is the parent with whom the child resides the majority of time and returns to after each visitation with the secondary residential parent. The secondary residential parent has visitation rights.

References
The source of this information is lawyers.com