Child Custody Laws in Florida

Daughter walking down beach with mother

If you are in the middle of a divorce, it is important to think about what you hope to expect with your child custody case. If your child custody case is brought to trial, the courts must first consider numerous predetermined child custody laws pertaining to the specific state you live in. Florida child custody laws may differ slightly from other states so it is important to familiarize yourself with these laws before your child custody hearing.

What to expect for Florida child custody laws

Florida child custody laws and courts always hold the best interests of the children involved before the interests of the co-parents. Aside from the child custody laws determined by the state, this is the greatest factor in determining who will be granted custody and what type of custody will be granted. Florida child custody laws provide for several different types of physical child custody within the state. Legal custody is also determined at the time physical custody is. Legal custody refers to one parent having the right to make decisions for the child (sold legal custody) or both parents being included in the decision making process (joint legal custody). To learn more about types of child custody agreements follow this link

Florida Child Custody Laws – Sole Physical Custody

Sole physical custody in Florida does not greatly differ from other U.S states. Sole physical custody is defined as one co-parent acting as the primary residence for the children involved. The other co-parent is usually given visitation rights but the amount of visitation will be determined by a decision from the court. Sole physical custody can be paired with either sole or joint legal custody.

Florida Child Custody Laws – Joint Physical Custody

 Joint physical custody in Florida also does not greatly differ from other U.S. states. Joint physical custody is defined as both co-parents act as the child’s primary residence and care providers. The term visitation is less commonly used when referring to joint physical custody because both co-parents are seen as custodial parents. It can be paired with either sole or joint legal custody also. The courts also create a joint custody calendar in this situation to easily define how custody will be split. In most states, custody does not need to be divided 50/50; the only requirement is that significant amount of time is spent with both co-parents. Florida has an additional custody agreement, which facilitates a 50/50 split.


Florida Child Custody Laws – Rotating Physical Custody


Rotating physical custody is mostly unique to Florida child custody laws. This type of custody is exactly what it sounds like. The physical and legal custody is rotated between co-parents. Rotating physical custody also requires that each parent play the role of the custodial parent for six months on an annual basis.

After the Florida child custody laws and the welfare of the child are considered, the court will look at a few other factors to help determine the type of child custody plan that will be enforced. These factors are not specific to Florida child custody laws; they are common to almost all family court systems. These factors include but are not limited to the age of the child, the geographical distance between the co-parents, the child’s preferences, the relationship between the child and each co-parent, and so on.

The Our Family Wizard website® recognizes the Florida child custody laws and the child custody laws for every other U.S. state. When a final custody and visitation agreement is reached there are many tools that you can utilize to easily organize your parenting plan and help facilitate communication between you and your co-parent. After a divorce, you may notice that conflict between you and your co-parent is not an easy thing to manage. The Our Family Wizard website® aims to greatly reduce this conflict, providing a safe and healthy environment for your children. After consulting an attorney about Florida child custody laws, ask about your rights and responsibilities as a co-parent after finalizing your custody agreement.


NOTE: Many state and federal laws use terms like ‘custody’ when referring to arrangements regarding parenting time and decision-making for a child. While this has been the case for many years, these are not the only terms currently used to refer to these topics.

Today, many family law practitioners and even laws within certain states use terms such as ‘parenting arrangements’ or ‘parenting responsibility,’ among others, when referring to matters surrounding legal and physical child custody. You will find these terms as well as custody used on the OurFamilyWizard website.