When divorcing parents head to court to determine who will get custody of the children, Florida judges usually make decisions using a standard called “the best interest of the child”. Essentially, courts generally determine what will give the children the most stability and help protect them from conflict or abuse. However, this standard is vague, allowing the decisions to be susceptible to the judges’ biases.
Unless there is abuse or neglect involved on the part of one of the parents, research has shown that shared parenting is often the most beneficial for the children. Even so, this is often not the norm in many cases due to a number of myths and misrepresentations of the research. For example, one common myth is that the children themselves only want to live in one home with one parent. However, adult children with divorced parents have said that having a strong relationship was extremely beneficial for them, even if they experienced the hassle of having to move between houses.
Another common myth is that young children form strong attachments to only one parent and that spending overnights with the other parent can be harmful. However, infants and young children do form bonds with both parents and there is no evidence that supports keeping infants and young children away from either parent.
Child custody proceedings in a courtroom can become very emotional for all parties involved. In many states, judges will allow children to express their preference if they are mature enough to do so, but they will thus be exposed to the dispute. In some cases, estranged parents can negotiate an arrangement with the help of their respective attorneys.