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How does child custody work in Florida?

Florida uses the provisions of the federal Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act. Under this law, the state requires parents who live separately to share parenting time. 

Review the laws about child custody in Florida to learn more about how the state divides time between parents after divorce.. 

Florida family law terms 

Florida uses the term time-sharing instead of physical custody. State law recognizes majority time-sharing, when the child lives with one parent most of the time, as well as equal time-sharing, which describes a 50/50 residential schedule. 

Florida law also recognizes parental responsibility, or the right to make important decisions for the child. Parents have joint parental responsibility unless such an arrangement would cause the child physical or emotional harm. 

Best interest factors 

When the court determines child custody in Florida, the judge considers factors that support the child’s best interests, including: 

  • The child’s age and developmental level 
  • His or her preference, depending on age 
  • The mental and physical health of children and parents 
  • Any history of neglect or domestic violence 
  • How well each parent can provide the emotional support and stability the child needs 
  • The distance between the parents’ homes 
  • The child’s current adjustment to home, school, family and community 
  • The willingness of each parent to foster a healthy relationship with the child’s other parent 
  • Each parent’s ability to model healthy moral development 
  • The ability of each parent to create a healthy home routine 

Parents can create their own time-sharing arrangement and submit it for court approval. If spouses cannot agree on parenting time, they can ask the judge to decide.