As a Florida resident who is currently navigating your way through a separation, divorce or custody battle, you may have heard the term “best interests of the child” tossed around more than once. Florida’s family court system has the responsibility of making numerous decisions regarding custody, visitation, parental rights and so on, and those working within it often consider the “best interests of the child” when making such determinations.
So, what types of things does the court system consider when determining what may be in the best interests of a child?
Defining “best interests of the child”
Ultimately, the things the court system will consider when it comes to your child’s well-being will vary based on certain specifics and circumstances, such as whether the case involves custody, visitation, etc. However, you can typically anticipate that the court will consider the ability of the parents or guardians to provide for the child in terms of food, housing, medical care and material needs. The relationship between each parent and the child is also paramount to the child's best interests.
The court will also typically consider whether a potential custodial parent or guardian has the mental capacity necessary to care for the child and the ability to create a safe environment in which the child can thrive. In situations where children are older and able to voice their own thoughts about custody decisions and the like, the court system will also frequently consider the child’s own wishes before issuing decisions.
In summary, there are numerous areas Florida’s court system will typically review when determining the best interests of your child. Ultimately, however, the goal is to make decisions that benefit the child and give him or her the best possible chance at a happy, healthy life.