As a parent who is looking to win custody of your child or children, your biggest question is probably “How?” How do you get custody of your child, especially when you and the other parent cannot come to your own agreement? There is no simple answer to this question, but Swanson Law Center, P.A. is here to help.
Many parents are able to come to their own agreement about child custody through mediation. If you and the other parent think you can negotiate your own custody agreement, then mediation can allow you to sit down outside of the courtroom and draft your own agreement with the help of a neutral third-party mediator. Things get tricky when an amicable agreement cannot be reached.
Contested child custody cases are decided by a Family Law Judge. In these situations, the Judge ultimately makes his or her decision based on the best interests of the child. To determine what exactly that is, the Judge will consider the following as laid out in the 2016 Florida Statutes § 61.13:
- Each parent’s ability and desire to continue a parent-child relationship, put the child’s needs before their own, and remain involved in their child’s life;
- Each parent’s willingness and likelihood to honor the custody agreement and be reasonable when changes are required;
- The length of time the child has lived in a stable environment and the desire to maintain that environment;
- The location of each parent and how it may affect the parenting plan;
- Each parent’s moral, mental, and physical health;
- The reasonable preference of the child (if the court deems the child capable of expressing a preference);
- Each parent’s ability to maintain a consistent routine for the child;
- The demonstrated capacity of each parent to communicate with the other parent and keep them informed of major issues regarding the child;
- Evidence of domestic violence, sexual assault, or any other form of abuse, including lying to the court about such abuse;
- The current division of parental responsibilities;
- Each parent’s current level of involvement in their child’s daily life and extracurricular activities;
- Each parent’s capacity and disposition to provide an environment free of substance abuse;
- Each parent’s ability to abstain from parental alienation;
- Each parent’s ability to provide for the developmental and emotional needs of the child
These are not all of the factors that are considered. No two cases are alike and the Court will take into consideration anything that will help them determine what custody order will be in the best interests of the child. If you are a parent seeking custody of your child, then you need a skilled Gainesville family law attorney on your side to present a strong argument on your behalf.
Consult a Gainesville Child Custody Lawyer – (352) 375-5602
Swanson Law Center, P.A. is dedicated to helping families and individuals through all kinds of difficult family law matters. We understand that this is a stressful time for you and we are here to help lighten the load. Let us protect your interests and those of your children. Contact us today to set up a case consultation with a divorce attorney in Gainesville!