In Florida, there are two different types of child custody arrangements, physical and legal, that subsequently dictate a parent's rights.
What Is the Difference Between Physical and Legal Custody in FL?
Physical custody simply refers a parent's responsibility to house their child and make decisions on their behalf on a day-to-day basis. This means that either one or both parents would be responsible for providing protection, a suitable home environment and any necessary amenities. In Florida, a judge will typically rule in favor of shared physical custody so that each parent would have the opportunity to spend time with their child on a regular basis.
In regard to legal custody, however, it is a parent's ability to make major life decisions that differentiates the two. Legal custody simply refers to a parent's right to make decisions about their child's well-being. For example, having legal custody would give a parent the freedom to make choices about their child's education, religious practices and medical treatment – regardless of whether or not they were concurrently afforded physical custody. Being able to make such decisions is an elemental part of being a parent, so it is important that you fight for the legal rights that you deserve.
Ideally, parents will work together to determine the best custody arrangement for their child, taking into account factors like the child's age, medical needs, and school location. If the parents cannot agree on a custody plan, the court will make the decision based on what is in the child's best interest.
To start navigating the different types of custody arrangements and how they affect you and your child, contact Charles E. Willmott, P.A. today.
What is the Difference Between Sole & Joint Custody?
When determining who will be primarily responsible for a child, the judge can choose to grant one parent sole custody or divide the custody jointly. If, for example, it was decided that sole custody would better serve the best interests of the child, the judge may also allow the other parent to devise a suitable visitation schedule.
In most cases, however, the court will rule in favor of a joint custody arrangement – unless, of course, there is a valid reason to assume that the child would be safer and/or more reasonably cared for under the custody of just one parent.
Even so, there are four different types of custody arrangements that could be awarded, including:
- Sole Physical Custody - The arrangement in which one parent has the right to have physical custody of a child. This means that the child lives with one parent most of the time, and the other parent has visitation rights.
- Joint Physical Custody - An arrangement that allows both parents to have substantial time with their children after a divorce or separation. This type of custody involves the children spending roughly equal amounts of time with each parent, often on a week-on, week-off basis.
- Sole Legal Custody - One parent has the legal authority to make all major decisions regarding the child's upbringing, including education, medical care, and religious upbringing. This arrangement can be beneficial in situations where one parent is deemed unfit or unable to make important decisions for the child.
- Joint Legal Custody - An option that allows both parents to share in decision-making regarding their children's well-being, including their education, healthcare, and religious upbringing. This type of custody can benefit children by ensuring both parents have a say in their lives, which can lead to a more stable and harmonious environment. Joint legal custody requires a commitment from both parents to communicate effectively and work together, even when they may have differing opinions.
Consult a Florida Custody Lawyer
If you are fighting for custody of your child, it would be beneficial to consult with our legal professional early in the process. Waiting until the last minute can put you further behind. When you retain my services, you can rest easy knowing that your child’s best interests are my top priority. I encourage you to get in touch with the firm as soon as possible to discuss your case.
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