The following is a summary of Florida child custody laws, and is by no means intended to be an all-inclusive description of what to expect in your particular case. In some cases, the exact text of the statute may have been simplified and/or modified to provide for easier understanding. For a more specific understanding of the laws, you should consult the full Florida Code and/or consult with an attorney about how the law might apply to your particular situation.

Joint Legal Custody and Florida Laws.

The courts show preference for shared parental responsibility (joint legal custody) in Florida Statute 1.13(2)(b)1: “It is the public policy of this state to assure that each minor child has frequent and continuing contact with both parents after the parents separate or divorce, and to encourage parents to share the rights and responsibilities and joys of childrearing. After considering all relevant facts, the father of the child shall be given the same consideration as the mother in determining the primary residence of a child, irrespective of the age or sex of the child.”

…and in Florida Statute 61.13(2)(b): “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 (joint legal custody) would be detrimental to the child…”

Florida Laws on Best Interest of the Child.

When awarding child custody in Florida, the court will consider all factors affecting the welfare and interests of the child, including but not limited to:

  1. The parent who is more likely to allow the child frequent and continuing contact with the non-custodial parent.
  2. The love, affection, and other emotional ties existing between the parents and the child.
  3. The capacity and disposition of the parents 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, as a family unit, 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 reasonable preference of the child as to custody, if the court deems the child to be of sufficient intelligence, understanding, and experience to express a preference.
  10. The willingness and ability of each parent to facilitate and encourage a close and continuous parent-child relationship between the child and the other parent.
  11. Evidence that any party has knowingly provided false information to the court regarding a domestic violence proceeding.
  12. Evidence of domestic violence or child abuse.
  13. Any other fact not specifically expressed in these laws that the court considers to be relevant.

-From Section 61.13(3) of the Florida Statutes

Parenting Course in Divorce.

A parenting course is required by Florida laws for all couples with children who obtain a divorce in Florida.


This information has been summarized from the Florida statutes. You can find the full-text version of these and other Florida divorce statutes online here: Florida Divorce Laws.




IMPORTANT: Help Yourself Divorce is a paralegal service, not a law firm. Please don’t rely on this information for legal advice. Seek help from an attorney if you need legal advice.


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