Divorce rates in Florida hover around 50% for first marriages. Many of these marriages have children and require a child custody agreement. While child support and child custody are similar, the court decides on them separately. 

The 2019 Florida Statutes detail both child support and child custody in Title VI, Chapter 61. The state feels that minor children should have “frequent and continuing contact with both parents” upon the divorce or separation of the parents. The state wants parents to share both the joys and responsibilities of raising their children. 

The court takes the child’s well-being into consideration when choosing who the primary custodial parent is and how time is shared or not shared. If the court deems one parent unfit or a detriment to the child, the parent may have limited or no visitation even if they pay child support. The court remains impartial to granting a father or mother preference during the proceedings. 

The parenting scheduling company Custody Xchange discusses the parenting plan used by the court to determine a visitation schedule. Common things that the court looks at when determining how the time spent with the parents affects them focus on the stability of the home environment, parental communication, division of parental responsibilities and the needs of the child. 

In addition, the court looks at the mental and physical abilities of the parent including any substance abuse and past history with abuse. The court wants the parents to work together to raise the child through good communication, consistent routines and a unified front to protect the child.