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A court's guidelines for determining child custody

Florida parents who are either divorced or going through a separation may wonder how the court will evaluate their homes during the custody determination process. Courts tend to follow a specific set of rules, but their decisions vary depending on the state and judge. However, being prepared for how they will likely evaluate a home can make it easier to secure adjustments that will lead to a favorable outcome.

One thing the court will evaluate when determining child custody is the safety of the neighborhood itself. The court will likely not look favorably on a neighborhood where crime is an issue, or a neighborhood that houses someone on the sex offender registry. Local burglaries and homicides are also likely to raise red flags that a court may have trouble looking past when it comes to allowing overnight visits.

The court will also look at the number of kids in the home. If the living space is small, for example, the court may not favor a situation where siblings have limited privacy. This is especially true of situations where there are large gaps in age or situations where siblings are opposite genders. In those cases, the court will likely require each child to have his or her own bedroom. However, judges may also consider the parent's financial situation. The court will likely understand that a noncustodial parent who pays child support might not be able to afford a larger home.

Parents who are concerned they may not get to spend enough time with their children as a result of their living situations should consider an attorney with experience in child custody. An experienced attorney may be able to prove that a parent's home is adequate for partial or full custody.

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