Best Interests of a Child

Posted by Gordon Shayne | Mar 07, 2024 | 0 Comments

What does the Best Interest of the Child Law Mean?

     When parties have children and are involved in a divorce, paternity or other custody matter, Florida law requires the Judge to enter appropriate Court Orders. A child in Florida is a minor until the age of 18, except for some other limited circumstances. Your Judge is charged with the responsibility of determining all matters relating to parenting and time-sharing of each minor child of the parties pursuant to the best interest of the child and the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (commonly known as the UCCJEA). The Best Interests of the Child law is based upon specific factors that will have great impact in every case where children are involved.

New Florida Law July 1, 2023       

     The most recent law that was signed by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, effective July 1, 2023, creates a presumption that EQUAL time-sharing is in the best interests of the child, with exceptions. A parent who objects to equal time-sharing must prove by evidence, that equal time-sharing would not be in the best interests of the child. I have been involved in thousands of cases where an equal time-sharing schedule was objected to by my clients. Keep in mind that each case is different, and the facts of each case are different as well. When a parent claims that they disagree with the law that favors equal time sharing, the Judge is required to evaluate those facts along with the evidence and make specific factual findings as a basis for ruling against equal time-sharing. The stronger the factual evidence is to establish circumstances that an equal time-sharing arrangement is not consistent with the child's best interests, the more likely it is for the court to override the presumption stated in the law.

     Examples of some situations that would show that it is not in the child's best interest to have 50/50 time-sharing can include:

1.     When a parent has a history untreated alcoholism or drug abuse;

2.     When a parent is a convicted felon of sexual violence, domestic violence, child abuse or neglect, etc.;

3.     When a parent has voluntarily been absent for long period of time from the child's life and the responsibilities of raising a child or providing support.

4.     When there are questions of a parent's moral fitness or emotional stability;

5.     Where a parent intentionally and maliciously alienates the child from the other parent.

 The evaluation of all of the factors in the Best Interests law is the primary reason why it is highly recommended to obtain sound advice from an experienced, well qualified Florida Family Law Attorney.

About the Author

Gordon Shayne

Gordon N. Shayne Family Law / Divorce Lawyer Phone: (904) 544-6855 Gordon N. Shayne's field of practice is devoted to Family Law/Divorce case throughout the State of Florida


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With over 35 years of experience, Mr. Shayne has had a legal career fighting for the rights of his clients while focusing his practice exclusively on Divorce, Child Custody and other Family Law Matters. Our services are available throughout the State of Florida.

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