Everything You Need to Know About Types of Custody in Florida

In Florida, child custody is categorized into two main types: legal custody and physical custody. These types can be further divided into different arrangements based on the specific circumstances of the parents and the best interests of the child. Here are the common types of custody arrangements recognized in Florida:

1. Sole Legal Custody

Sole legal custody grants one parent the sole authority and responsibility to make major decisions regarding the child’s upbringing, including matters related to education, healthcare, and religious upbringing. The non-custodial parent may still have visitation rights or scheduled parenting time, but they do not have decision-making authority.

2. Shared Parental Responsibility

Shared parental responsibility, also known as joint legal custody, is the preferred custody arrangement in Florida. It involves both parents sharing the responsibility and authority to make major decisions regarding the child’s welfare, education, healthcare, and religious upbringing. Shared parental responsibility requires effective communication and cooperation between parents.

3. Primary Physical Custody

Primary physical custody refers to a situation where one parent has the majority of physical custody and provides the child’s primary residence. The child spends most of their time with the custodial parent, while the non-custodial parent may be granted visitation rights or scheduled parenting time.

4. Shared Physical Custody

Shared physical custody, also known as joint physical custody or time-sharing, involves both parents having significant periods of physical custody. The child spends substantial time with each parent, and the parenting time is divided between the parents in a way that ensures the child has frequent and ongoing contact with both parents.

5. Bird’s Nest Custody

Bird’s nest custody, though less common, is a unique arrangement where the child remains in the family home, and the parents take turns living in the home with the child on a rotating basis. This arrangement aims to provide stability for the child by allowing them to stay in a familiar environment while the parents share custody.

It’s important to note that the court determines custody arrangements based on the best interests of the child, considering factors such as the child’s age, the parents’ ability to provide a safe and nurturing environment, the child’s relationship with each parent, and any history of domestic violence or substance abuse. The specific custody arrangement will depend on the unique circumstances of the case and the court’s determination. Consulting with a family law attorney is recommended to understand the specific custody laws and procedures in Florida.