Child custody laws in Miami, Florida differ from custody laws in other states. Parents who wish to file for custody of a child in Miami, Florida should speak with an attorney in Dade County who will help them file custody paperwork and also provide representation at hearings. A Miami court will consider several factors to determine which parent is the best custodian for the child.
Best Interests of Child
A child custody court in Miami will primarily consider the best interests of the child when making a custody determination. According to the Florida Domestic Relations statute, in determining a child's best interests, a court will consider: child's preference, if a child is mature enough to make an intelligent decision, mental and physical health of all parties involved, any history of domestic violence or abuse, the child's relationship with parents and the stability of the child's home and school environment.
Prior to October 2008, a family court in Miami referred to child custody in terms of primary, custodial parent and a non-custodial parent. However, currently, all child custody in Florida is referred to as "time-sharing." In a time-sharing arrangement, a court in Florida will consider the time that each parent spends with a child, including vacations and holidays. A time-sharing schedule will also include information regarding where the child will sleep at night. In general, a Florida court prefers for parents to share parental responsibility, unless shared responsibility will pose a danger to the child.
A family court in Miami will modify a custody arrangement that is not considered to be in the best interests of the child. A parent who requests a custody modification will need to present proof of changed, unanticipated circumstances that somehow threaten the child's well-being.
Relocation and Child Custody
If a parent desires to leave the Miami area, he should serve a petition on the other parent as soon as reasonably possible. The petition should include the address and telephone number of the new residence, a statement about the reason for the move, and a proposal for the revised custody and visitation arrangements post-move.
In Miami, Florida, grandparents may petition the local family court for visitation rights of their grandchildren. According to the Florida Domestic Relations statute, reasonable visitation will be granted to grandparents, if a grandparent can prove that visitation is in the child's best interests. A grandparent will also need to prove: the marriage between the child's parents has been dissolved; the child's parents have deserted the child or the child was born out of wedlock.