Court Discusses Prospective-Based Analysis in Florida Child Custody Cases

In a Florida child custody case, the court’s driving concern is what is in the best interest of the child that is the subject of the suit. The court will look at numerous factors to determine what custody arrangement will best benefit the child’s welfare and well-being. The courts generally are not permitted to analyze factors on a prospective basis, but there are some exceptions, as discussed by a recent Florida opinion issued in a custody matter in which the father appealed the trial court ruling. If you need assistance protecting your parental rights, it is advisable to confer with a Miami child custody lawyer regarding your options.

History of the Case

It is reported that the mother and the father were parties to a custody action to determine parental rights with regard to their minor child. The trial court issued a judgment determining timesharing and parental rights. The judgment also permitted the mother to relocate to another city in Florida with the minor child when the child began attending school and allowed for a modification of time-sharing rights due to the relocation.

Allegedly, the father appealed, arguing that the trial court erred in issuing a judgment that allowed for an automatic modification of timesharing rights in the future, as it relied on a prospective-based analysis, which Florida law prohibits.

Prospective-Based Analysis in Florida Child Custody Cases

On appeal, the court affirmed the trial court ruling. In doing so, it explained why the trial court’s decision was not improper, despite Florida’s proscription against prospective-based analyses. Specifically, the court noted that future modifications to timesharing are improper when they are based on a predetermined event that may or may not occur, as the court cannot see into the future and prophetically evaluate what will be in the child’s bests interests following a potential future change in circumstances.

In cases in which a prospective modification is based on what is in the best interest of a child at the time the final judgment is issued, however, and relies on an event that is objectively and reasonably certain to occur at a specified time, prospective modifications are not improper. In the subject case, the court noted that the modification in question would occur when the child began attending kindergarten, which was all but guaranteed to occur. Therefore, the parenting plan did not run afoul of Florida law, and the court affirmed the final judgment.

Talk to a Seasoned Miami Attorney

The courts will examine numerous factors to determine child custody rights, including, in some cases, the child’s needs and interests in the future. If you have questions about your rights with regard to custody of your child, it is smart to talk to an attorney as soon as possible. The seasoned Miami lawyers of the Law Offices of Sandy T. Fox, P.A. are proficient at managing complicated custody matters, and if you hire us, we can assess the facts of your case and aid you in seeking your desired outcome.  Our office is located in Aventura, and we frequently represent people in child custody cases in Miami. You can contact us through our online form or at 800-596-0579 to set up a meeting.