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How are the best interests of a child determined?

When it comes to child custody in Florida, the courts often use the best interests of the child when making decisions. However, it can be difficult to determine what exactly that means. In this case, having a working understanding of how courts go about making these sensitive decisions is crucial for parents to remain involved in the process.

According to TheSpruce.com,  when courts attempt to determine the best interests of the child at the heart of a custody battle, they tend to look at a few different factors. For instance, a child’s age will feature heavily in the decision, with older kids being afforded more leverage when it comes to which parent they would prefer to live with. When it comes to very young children, courts often make decisions based on care of that child. To this end, the parent who is the primary caregiver of the child is often preferred.

A child’s safety is also of the utmost importance. In fact, issues of safety often receive top priority in custody cases, and parents who are viewed to be a threat to a child’s safety will typically not be looked as favorably. The court will also assess each parent’s ability to properly care for their child. Material needs must be met in a reasonable manner, and these include things like shelter, food, clothing, educational opportunities, health care, and the ability to create a loving and stable home environment.

When it comes to things like education, the court often prefers not to disrupt a child’s routine. To this end, if a parent lives a great distance from a child’s current school, the court may opt to give the other parent custody. Having a consistent routine is extremely important for kids, as it fosters a feeling of security.

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