FLORIDA STATUTE ON CUSTODY AND SUPPORT OF CHILDREN

Selected Family Law Statutes
 
FLORIDA STATUTE ON CUSTODY AND SUPPORT OF CHILDREN
 
61.052 Dissolution of Marriage
 
During any period of continuance, the court may make appropriate orders for the support and alimony of the parties; the primary residence, custody, rotating custody, visitation, support, maintenance, and education of the minor child of the marriage; attorney's fees; and the preservation of the property of the parties.
 
61.121 Rotating Custody
 
The court may order rotating custody if the court finds that rotating custody will be in the best interest of the child.
 
61.13 Custody and support of children; visitation rights; power of court in making orders.
 
(1) (a) In a proceeding for dissolution of marriage, the court may at any time order either or both parents who owe a duty of support to a child to pay support in accordance with the guidelines in s. 61.30. The court initially entering an order requiring one or both parents to make child support payments shall have continuing jurisdiction after the entry of the initial order to modify the amount and terms and conditions of the child support payment when the modification is found necessary by the court in the best interest of the child, when the child reaches majority, or when there is a substantial change in the circumstances of the parties. The court initially entering a child support order shall also have continuing jurisdiction to require the obligee to report to the court on terms prescribed by the court regarding the disposition of the child support payments.
 
(b) Each order for child support shall contain a provision for health insurance of the minor child when the insurance is reasonably available. Insurance is reasonably available if either the obligor or the obligee has access at a reasonable rate to group insurance. The court may require the obligor either to provide health insurance coverage or to reimburse the obligee for the cost of heath insurance coverage for the minor child when coverage is provided by the obligee. In either event, the court shall apportion the cost of coverage to both parties by adding the cost to the basic obligation determined pursuant to s.61.30(6).
 
(c) To the extent necessary to protect an award of child support, the court may order the obligor to purchase or maintain a life insurance policy or a bond, or to otherwise secure the child support award with any other assets which may be suitable for that purpose.
 
2(a)  The court shall have jurisdiction to determine custody, notwithstanding that the child is not physically present in the state at the time of filing any proceeding under this chapter, if it appears to the court that the child was removed from the state for the primary purpose of removing the child from the jurisdiction of the court in an attempt to avoid a determination or modification of custody.
 
(2) (b) The court shall determine all matters relating to custody of each minor child of the parties in accordance with the best interests of the child and in accordance with the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act. It is the public policy of this state to assure that each minor child has frequent and continuing contact with both parents after the parents separate or the marriage of the parties is dissolved and to encourage parents to share the rights and responsibilities, and joys, of childbearing. Considering all relevant facts, the father of the child shall be given the same consideration as the mother in determine the primary residence of a child irrespective of the age or sex of the child.
 
2. The court shall order that the parental responsibility for a minor child be shared by both parents unless the court finds that shared parental responsibility would be detrimental to the child. The court shall consider evidence of spousal or child abuse as evidence of detriment to the child. The court shall consider evidence that a parent has been convicted of a felony of the second degree or higher involving domestic violence as defined in s.741.28 and chapter 7745, as a rebuttable presumption of detriment to the child. If the presumption is not rebutted, shared parental responsibility, including visitation, residence of the child, and decisions made regarding the child, shall not be granted to the convicted parent. However, the convicted parent shall not be relieved of any obligation to provide financial support. If the court determines that shared parental responsibility would be detrimental to the child, it may order sole parental responsibility and make such arrangements for visitation as will best protect the child or abused spouse from further harm.
 
A. In ordering shared parental responsibility, the court may consider the expressed desires of the parents and may grant to one party the ultimate responsibility over specific aspects of the child's welfare or may divide those responsibilities between the parties based on the best interests of the child. Areas of responsibility may include primary residence, education, medical and dental care, and any other responsibilities which the court finds unique to a particular family.
 
b. The court shall order "sole parental responsibility, with or without visitation rights, to the other parent when it is in the best interests of" the minor child.
 
c. The court may award the grandparents visitation rights of a minor child if it is in the child's best interest. Grandparents shall have legal standing to seek judicial enforcement of such an award. Nothing in this section shall require that grandparents be made parties or given notice of dissolution pleadings or proceedings, nor shall grandparents have legal standing as "contestants as defined in s. 61.1306. No court shall order that a child be kept within the state or jurisdiction of the court solely of the purpose of permitting visitation by the grandparents.
 
d. No presumption shall arise in favor of or against a request to relocate when a primary residential parent seeks to move the child and the move will materially affect the current schedule of contact and access with the secondary residential parent. In making a determination as to shelter the primary residential parent may relocate with a child, the court must consider the following factors:
(1) Whether the move would be likely to improve the general quality of life for both the residential parent and the child; (2) The extent to which visitation rights have been allowed and exercised; (3) Whether the primary residential parent, once out of the jurisdiction, will be likely to comply with any substitute visitation arrangements; (4) Whether the substitute visitation will be adequate to foster a continuing meaningful relationship between the child and the secondary residential parent; (5) Whether the cost of transportation is financially affordable by one or both parties; (6) Whether the move is in the best interest of the child.
 
3. Access to records and information pertaining to a minor child, including, but not limited to, medical, dental, and school records, shall not be denied to a parent because such parent is not the child's primary residential parent.
 
(3) For purposes of shared parental responsibility and primary resident, the best interests of the child shall include an evaluation of all factors affecting the welfare and interest of the child, including, but not limited to:
 
(a) The parent who is more likely to allow the child frequent and continuing contact with the non-residential parent.
 
(b) The love, affection, and other emotional ties existing between the parents of the child.
 
(c) The capacity and disposition of the parents to provide the child with food, clothing, medical care or other remedial care recognized and permitted under the laws of this state in lieu of medical care, and other material needs.
 
(d) The length of time the child has lived in a stable, satisfactory environment and the desirability of maintaining continuity.
 
(e) The permanence, as a family unit, of the existing or proposed custodial home.
 
(f) The moral fitness of the parents.
 
(g) The mental and physical health of the parents.
 
(h) The home, school and community record of the child.
 
(i) The reasonable preference of the child, if the court deems the child to be of sufficient intelligence, understanding, and experience to express a preference.
 
(j) The willingness and ability of each parent to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing parent-child relationship between the child and the other parent.
 
(k) Any other fact considered by the court to be relevant.
 
(4) (a) When a noncustodial parent who is ordered to pay child support or alimony and who is award visitation rights fails to pay child support or alimony, the custodial parent shall not refuse to honor the noncustodial parent's visitation rights.
 
(b) When a custodial parent refused to honor a noncustodial parent's visitation rights, then noncustodial parent shall not fail to pay any ordered child support or alimony.
 
(c) When a custodial parent refused to honor a noncustodial parent's or grandparent's visitation rights without proper cause, the court shall, after calculating the amount of visitation improperly denied, award the noncustodial parent or grandparent a sufficient amount of extra visitation to compensate the non custodial parent or grandparent which visitation shall be ordered taken as expeditiously as possible in a manner consistent with the best interests of the child and scheduled in a manner that is convenient for the person deprived of visitation. In ordering any made-up visitation, the court shall schedule such visitation in a manner that is consistent with the best interests of the child or children and that is convenient for the noncustodial parent or grandparent. In addition, the court:
 
1. May order the custodial parent to pay reasonable court costs and attorney's fees incurred by the non custodial parent or grandparent to enforce their visitation rights or make up improperly denied visitation;
 
2. May order the custodial parent to attend the patenting course approved by the judicial circuit;
 
3. May order the custodial parent to do community service if the order will not interfere with the welfare of the child;
 
4. May order the custodial parent to have the financial burden of promoting frequent and continuing contact when the custodial parent and child reside further than 60 miles from the noncustodial parent;
 
5. May award the custody, rotating custody, or primary residence to the noncustodial parent, upon the request of the noncustodial parent, if the award is in the best interests of the child; or
 
6. May impose any other reasonable sanction as a result of noncompliance.
 
(8) If the court orders that parental responsibility, including visitation, be shared by both parents, the court may not deny the noncustodial parent overnight contact and access or visitation with the child solely because of the age or sex of the child.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
61.08 Alimony
 
In a proceeding for dissolution of marriage, the court may grant alimony to either party, which alimony may be rehabilitative or permanent in nature. In any award of alimony, the court may order periodic payment or payments in lump sum or both. The court may consider the adultery of either spouse and the circumstances thereof in determining the amount of alimony, if any, to be awarded. In all dissolution actions, the court shall include findings of fact relative to the factors enumerated in subsection (2) supporting an award or denial of alimony.
 
(2) In determining a proper award of alimony or maintenance, the court shall consider all relevant economic factors, including but not limited to:
 
(a) The standard of living established during the marriage.
(b) The duration of the marriage.
(c) The age and the physical and emotional condition of each party.
(d) The financial resources of each party, the nonmarital and the marital assets and liabilities distributed to each.
(e) When applicable, the time necessary for either party to acquire sufficient education or training to enable such party to find appropriate employment.
(f) The contribution of each party to the marriage, including, but not limited to, services rendered in homemaking, child care, education, and career building of the other party.
(g) All sources of income available to either party.
 
The court may consider any other factor necessary to do equity and justice between the parties.
 
(3) To the extent necessary to protect an award of alimony, the court may order any  party who is ordered to pay alimony to purchase or maintain a life insurance policy or a bond, or to otherwise secure such alimony award with any other assets which may be suitable for that purpose.
 
61.075 Equitable distribution of marital assets and liabilities.
 
(1) In a proceeding for dissolution of marriage, in addition to all other remedies available to a court to do equity between the parties, or in a proceeding for disposition of assets following a dissolution of marriage by a court which lacked jurisdiction over the absent spouse or lacked jurisdiction to dispose of the assets, the court shall set apart to each spouse that spouse's nonmarital assets and liabilities, and in distributing the marital assets and liabilities between the parties, the court must begin with the premise that the distribution should be equal, unless there is a justification for an unequal distribution based on all relevant factors, including:
 
(a) The contribution to the marriage by each spouse, including contributions to the care and education of the children and services as homemaker.
 
(b)The economic circumstances of the parties.
(c) The duration of the marriage.
(d) Any interruption of personal careers or educational opportunities of either party.
(e) The contribution of one spouse to the personal career or educational opportunity of the other spouse.
(f) The desirability of retaining any asset, including an interest in a business, corporation, or professional practice, intact and free from any claim or interference by the other party.
(g) The contribution of each spouse to the acquisition, enhancement, and production of income or the improvement of, or the incurring of liabilities to, both the marital assets and the nonmarital assets of the parties.
(h) The desirability of retaining the marital home as a residence for any dependent child of the marriage, or any other party, when it would be equitable to do so, it is in the best interest of the child or that party, and it is financially feasible for the parties to maintain the residence until the child is emancipated or until exclusive possession is otherwise terminated by a court of competent jurisdiction. In making this determination, the court shall first determine if it would be in the best interest of the dependent child to remain in the marital home; and, if not, whether other equities would be served by giving any other party exclusive use and possession of the marital home.
(i) The intentional dissipation waste, depletion, or destruction of marital assets after the filing of the petition or within 2 years prior to the filing of the petition.
(j) Any other factors necessary to do equity and justice between the parties.
(2) If the court awards a cash payment for the purpose of equitable distribution of marital assets to be paid in full or in installments the full amount ordered shall vest when the judgment is awarded and the award shall not terminate upon remarriage or death of either party, unless otherwise agreed to by the parties, but shall be treated as a debt owed from the obligor or the obligor's estate to the obligee or the obligee's estate, unless otherwise agreed to by the parties.
(3) In any contested dissolution action wherein a stipulation and agreement has not been entered and file, and distribution of marital assets or marital liabilities shall be supported by factual findings in the judgment or order based on competent substantial evidence with reference to the factors enumerated in subsection (1). The distribution of all marital assets and marital liabilities, whether equal or unequal, shall include specific written findings of fact as to the following:
a) Clear identification of nonmarital assets and ownership interest;
(b) Identification of marital assets, including the individual valuation of significant assets, and designation of which spouse shall be entitled to each asset;
(c) Identification of the marital liabilities and designation of which spouse shall be responsible for each liability;
(d)_ Any other finds necessary to advise the parties or the reviewing court of the trial court's rationale for the distribution of marital assets and allocation of liabilities.
(4) The judgment distributing assets shall have the effect of a duly executed instrument of conveyance, transfer, release, or acquisition which is recorded in the county where the property is located when the judgment, or a certified copy of the judgment, is recorded in the official records of the county in which the property is located.
(5) As used in the section:
(a) "Marital assets and liabilities" include:
1. Assets acquired and liabilities incurred during the marriage, individually by either spouse or jointly by them;
2. The enhancement in value and appreciation of nonmarital assets resulting either from the efforts of either party during the marriage or from the contribution to or expenditure thereon of marital funds or other forms of marital assets, or both;
3. Interspousal gifts during the marriage;
4. All vested and nonvested benefits, rights and funds accrued during the  marriage in retirement, pension, profit sharing, annuity, deferred compensation, and insurance plans and programs.; and
5. All real property held by the parties as tenants by the entireties, whether acquired prior to or during the marriage, shall be presumed to be a marital asset. If, in any case, a party makes a claim to the contrary, the burden of proof shall be on the party asserting the claim for special equity.
(b) "Nonmarital assets and liabilities" include:
1. Assets acquired and liabilities incurred by either party prior to the marriage, and assets acquired and liabilities incurred in exchange for such assets and liabilities;
2. Assets acquired separately by either party by noninterspousal gift, bequest, devise, or descent, and assets acquired in exchange for such assets;
3. All income derived from nonmarital assets during the marriage unless the income was treated, used, or replied upon by the parties as a marital asset; and
4. Assets and liabilities excluded from marital assets and liabilities by valid written agreement of assets acquired and liabilities incurred in exchange for such assets and liabilities.
 
(6) The cut-off date for determine assets and liabilities to be identified or classified as marital assets and liabilities is the earliest of the date the parties enter into a valid separation agreement, such other date as may be expressly established by such agreement, or the date of the filing of a petition for dissolution of marriage. The date for determine value of assets and the amount of liabilities identified or classified as marital is such date or dates as the judge determines is just and equitable under the circumstances. Different assets may be valued as of different dates, as, in the judge's discretion, the circumstances require.
 
(7) All assets acquired and liabilities incurred by either spouse subsequent to the date of the marriage and not specifically established as nonmarital assets or liabilities are presumed to be marital assets and liabilities. Such presumption is overcome by a showing that the assets and liabilities are nonmarital assets and liabilities. The presumption is only for evidentiary purposes in the dissolution proceeding and does not vest title. Title to disputed assets shall vest only by the judgment of a court. This section does not require the joinder of spouses in the conveyance, transfer, or hypothecation of a spouse's individual property; affect the laws of descent and distribution; or establish community property in this state.
 
(8) The court may provide for equitable distribution of the marital assets and liabilities without regard to alimony for either party. After the determination of an equitable distribution of the marital assets and liabilities, the court shall consider whether a judgment for alimony shall be made.
 
(9) To do equity between the parties, the court may, in lieu of or to supplement, facilitate, or effectuate the equitable division of marital assets and liabilities, order a monetary payment in a lump sum or in installments paid over a fixed period of time.
 
61.076 Distribution of retirement plans upon dissolution of marriage.
 
(1) All vested and nonvested benefits, rights, and funds accrued during the marriage in retirement, pension, profit-sharing, annuity, deferred compensation, and insurance plans and programs are marital assets subject to equitable distribution.
 
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