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Ensuring Your Child’s Well-being in The Custody Process


Ensuring Your Child’s Well-being in The Custody Process

When parents separate, one question towers above all others: What is truly best for the children? As a caring parent in the midst of a custody dispute, you need an attorney who will be a zealous advocate for your child’s rights and well-being.

What is the “Best Interest of the Child” Standard?Ensuring-Your-Childs-Well-being-in-The-Custody-Process

Legal Definition and Origin

The “best interest of the child” standard guides all child custody decisions. Under this standard, the court determines custody arrangements based on what will best serve the child’s interests and needs.

What Does Best Interest of the Child Mean?

When parents separate, the court determines custody based on the “best interest of the child” standard.  In accordance with Florida Statute Section 61.13, child custody decisions are made with a primary focus on the best interests of the child. This means examining what living situation will serve the child’s overall well-being and needs.

What Do Courts Prioritize in Custody Decisions?

Courts look at a range of factors centered around one question: “What arrangement will serve the complete needs and well-being of this child?” While judges weigh many considerations, here are some of the most influential ones that our attorneys emphasize in building your child’s case :

Your Child’s Unique Needs and Wishes

The court works to fully understand your individual child’s needs. This includes examining aspects like:

  • Your child’s age and developmental stage, babies, school-aged kids, and teens all have vastly different requirements for their health, growth and education that inform custody decisions.
  • Any physical or psychological conditions your child has that demand specialized care or accommodation.
  • Addressing the various needs of a special needs child, including educational, medical, and other essential requirements, is paramount when making decisions concerning their care and support.
  • Once a child reaches around 12-14 years old, many judges give significant weight to the child’s preferences, as long as the child shows adequate maturity in expressing their wishes.

Ability to Provide a Nurturing, Stable Environment

The court closely compares the living situation offered by each parent seeking custody across areas like:

  • The quality of education and activities available near each parent’s home
  • Access to physical and mental healthcare to meet your child’s needs
  • Each parent’s ability to financially support the child while in their care
  • Stability of each parent’s job, lifestyle and support network to provide consistent care

Your Child’s Family Relationships

Judges emphasize keeping your child connected to important bonds they depend on for their well-being and sense of security. This comprises things such as:

  • Close relationships with siblings that custody arrangements need to maintain
  • Significant ties to grandparents and extended relatives
  • Assessing each parent’s willingness to co-parent and keep the child’s relationship strong on both sides

While no single factor determines outcomes, examining the child’s needs and interests helps ensure custody agreements reflect their overall well-being.The court carefully examines how all these factors intersect to determine which custody situation serves the totality of your child’s best interests.

Why the Standard is Important for Your Children

  • Ensures Your Children’s Needs Come First: With this standard, your child’s emotional, physical, and developmental needs take center stage.
  • Protects Your Children’s Rights and Well-Being: The standard prevents custody decisions based on parents’ wishes alone, keeping the focus on the child.
  • Helps Courts Make Fair Custody Arrangements: By spelling out what factors matter most, the standard assists judges in issuing equitable custody orders.

How Our Law Firm Advocates for Your Child

Our Experience Handling Complex Custody Cases

Our firm has handled hundreds of custody disputes involving divorce, unmarried parents, guardianship changes, and more.

Building Strong Best Interest Arguments

We build a strong case demonstrating why your proposed custody arrangement serves your children’s best interests.

The following is a DRAMATIZATION AND IS NOT AN ACTUAL EVENT: For example, in a recent guardianship case we represented a child’s aunt seeking custody from absentee parents. We constructed a powerful best interest case by having child psychologists assess the girl’s attachment to the aunt, documenting the parents’ lack of involvement, and outlining the stable home environment the aunt provided.

Our History of Favorable Outcomes for Clients

We help clients get court orders focused on their kids’ needs.

Imagine Your Children Thriving

Feel relief knowing your kids come first. Our lawyers understand “best interest” cases. We seek stability and care for your children.

Schedule a Consultation

As difficult as custody disputes are, you need not go through them alone — and your children’s future is too critical to not have zealous representation. Schedule a consultation with us today to discuss how we can initiate a strong custody case focused on your children’s well-being and best interests.


1.What factors do courts use to determine “best interest”?

Courts weigh factors like the child’s needs, relationships with each parent, home environments, health and safety under each custody plan, and the parents’ abilities to provide stability.

2. What if both parents have loving relationships with the children?

Even friendly divorces still require a careful look at how to structure custody considering school schedules, each parent’s support system, living arrangements, and more that impact the children’s needs.

3. What if one parent can provide more financial stability?

While significant income disparities may be a consideration, courts will not base custody solely on one parent’s greater financial means. The focus is the child’s overall welfare, not financial advantages.

4. How much weight do judges give to a child’s preference?

If a child is mature enough to thoughtfully express their wishes, generally age 12-14+, courts will heavily factor their custody preferences after confirming no coaching occurred. However, the child’s best interests remain the priority.

5. What about joint or shared custody arrangements?

Courts today often favor joint custody agreements that allow the child substantial, ongoing time with both parents. However, the same “best interest” factors are reviewed to ensure the arrangement meets the child’s needs for stability, schooling, relationships and is workable for both parents.


Going through a custody battle means making incredibly tough decisions while facing uncertainty and heartache. But focusing on your child’s best interests first and foremost will guide you to seek a custody order devoted to their health, safety, and well-being in this next chapter of your lives together.

We understand how much is at stake for your family. Let us stand beside you as tireless advocates for your children. With compassion and insight into “best interest” arguments, we can help pursue a custody arrangement that honors what they need most right now. Your first step is to simply call for a consultation.

Call Our Riverview office at (813) 850-0025 or our Wesley Chapel office at (352) 514-6865. You may also complete our online contact form to schedule your consultation today.

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