When establishing or a modifying a parenting plan in Florida, courts consider the best interests of the children. The child’s interests come before those of the parents.

While parents are free to negotiate their own parenting plan, when parents do not agree, a court will decide. In Florida, judges use 19 factors to determine the best interests of the child. This blog post explains the first of those factors, which is, “The demonstrated capacity and disposition of each parent to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing parent child relationship, to honor the time-sharing schedule, and to be reasonable when changes are required.”

What do all of these words mean? In a nutshell, Florida courts believe it is in the child’s best interests to have a good relationship with both parents. This is a goal both parents need to work together to achieve.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself to determine if you are living up to this factor, which judge use to establish or modify child custody:

  • Are you helping your child feel close to both you and your ex?
  • When your ex asks for a favor, such as picking up or dropping off a child early, are you willing to do it?
  • When the unexpected happens, are you willing to solve the problem rather than blaming your ex?
  • Do you criticize your ex in front of the children?
  • Are you reliable when it comes to picking up and dropping off your child at expected times?

This child custody factor shows how important it is to be flexible in parenting your children after divorce. You may meet the letter of your parenting plan, but if you fail to flexible, you may not be the meeting the goal of the plan, which is to provide frequent and loving contact with both parents

Learn more about the factors that make up a parenting plan in Florida.