Child custody cases in Florida can be heartbreaking. The judge's decision is based upon what he or she deems is in the best interests of the child. In some cases that is a very clear cut decision, but in others it is not. There can be many factors that go into the child custody decision, including the safety of the child, the ability of a parent to care for the child and even the relationship between a parent and child, particularly once a child becomes old enough to voice a preference.
Such a case is coming up for a hearing in another state. An 11-year-old girl has spent the last two years living with an aunt and uncle. A court hearing is imminent to decide whether to grant permanent guardianship to the aunt and uncle or return the child to her mother.
The girl's parents were in the midst of a divorce when the girl's father was killed by her maternal grandmother. The court ordered visitation for the girl's paternal grandparents, but her mother moved with her to Florida to avoid complying with the order. The mother was arrested and charged with child neglect, and guardianship was granted to the aunt and uncle. Apparently, the child has voiced a preference to stay there rather than return to her mother.
The legal standard of the best interest of the child can be difficult to determine in a complicated case. Someone in Florida facing a challenging child custody situation will likely benefit from seeking the counsel of an experienced family law attorney. A knowledgeable lawyer can look at the facts of the entire situation and can advise the client of what options are available to enable a favorable outcome that is truly based upon the best interests of the child.