Prior to filing the Petition for Divorce, both parents were the natural guardians for their children. After the filing of the Petition for Divorce, the Court has jurisdiction to determine the custody and support of the minor children using the "best interest of the child" standard. Even if the parties both agree on child custody, the Court is not obligated to agree to the arrangement.
Florida law requires that the court give equal consideration to the mother and the father. Florida believes it is in the best interest of the child for both parents to have legal custody of the child and that both parents share parenting time with the child. Normally both parents will be required to consult and come to a mutual decision on major issues involving the child. Both parents will also have equal access to records and information about the child, including school and medical records.
The Court may exercise jurisdiction over children that have been taken out of the State of Florida and can require that the children be brought back to the State of Florida.
Should a parent move a child out of Florida in violation of a Court Order, that parent may be guilty of a Third Degree Felony.
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