Not long ago, this Florida family law blog discussed the critical importance of a parent maintaining legal custody over their child. Legal custody is the form of custody that allows a parent to have an active voice in the important decision-making processes that occur and impact how their children are raised. A parent who lacks legal custody of their child may be unable to prevent their child from being subjected to medical, educational or religious decisions that as a parent they do not believe serve their child’s interests.
Legal custody is only one form of child custody that Florida courts, assign, however. Physical custody is the form of custody that grants to a parent the legal right to maintain a household for their child. A parent who does not have physical custody of their child may have visitation with their child but generally will not have their child living with them.
Both legal and physical custody are important, and neither one can be considered more critical to the well-being of a child. As such, it is important for parents to fight for both forms of custody so that they may continue to have active roles in the development of their children even as their legal relationships end with the other parent. Of course, a parent is not always in the best position to be the custodial parent for reasons that are beyond his or her control, but in such cases, he or she is encouraged to seek as much parenting time as possible.
At Messer & Messer, parents are supported as they both seek to preserve their important parental rights all while ensuring that the best interests of their children are met. A divorce or parental separation can weigh heavily on all members of a family, but with the right legal representation both parents and children can emerge in their new familial situations with their rights and interests intact.