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Florida Child Custody Laws

Parents must come to an agreement on child custody when they separate. These arrangements include how they will make major decisions regarding their child moving forward (referred to as "legal custody") and how they will share time with the child (referred to as "parenting time," "timesharing," or "physical custody," depending on the state). If parents are unable to come to an agreement, courts will decide the best course of action based on state child custody laws.

All states except Massachusetts adhere to the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA). This is a brief summary of child custody laws in Florida.

Florida Child Custody Statutes

For more general information on child custody laws, take a look at our article on state child custody laws. Below, you'll find information on Florida's child custody laws, including whether the child's wishes are considered, whether joint custody is an option, and whether grandparents have visitation rights.

Code Section

§ 61.13 et seq. of the Florida Statutes

Year Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act Adopted


Joint Custody an Option?

Yes, § 61.13(4)(c)(1), referred to as "shared" custody

Grandparent Visitation Rights Recognized?

Yes, § 752.011

Child's Own Wishes Considered?


Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Florida Custody Hearings

If you and your ex cannot come to an agreement on custody you may have to attend a custody hearing before a judge, who will decide the custody arrangement based on your child's best interests. Florida child custody courts are permitted to consider any relevant factors to this determination and give more consideration to factors that will affect your child's health and safety. Some of these factors will focus on the parents, such as:

  • Who is more likely to take care of the daily physical, emotional, developmental, educational, and special needs of your child;
  • Who is more likely to maintain a loving, stable, consistent, and nurturing relationship with your child; and
  • Who is more likely to encourage and allow frequent contact between your child and the other parent.

The court can also consider factors that focus on your child, like their preference (if they are old enough), their relationships with any siblings, and the need for stability and continuity in their education, community, and family life. The court can also consider whether either parent has a history of drug or alcohol abuse, any past or present physical abuse, and certain criminal charges and convictions.

Get Legal Help with Child Custody

Child custody matters are never easy, and you may find it helpful to speak to an attorney. You can contact a Florida family law attorney in your area to discuss your case. You can also find additional information in FindLaw's Child Custody section.

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