Determining the Best Interests of the Child - Florida

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Citation: Ann. Stat. § 39.810 

For the purpose of determining the manifest best interests of the child, the court shall consider and evaluate all relevant factors, including, but not limited to, the following:

  • Any suitable permanent custody arrangement with a relative of the child
  • The ability and disposition of the parent(s) to provide the child with food, clothing, medical care, other remedial care, and other material needs
  • The capacity of the parent(s) to care for the child to the extent that the child's safety; well-being; and physical, mental, and emotional health will not be endangered upon the child's return home
  • The present mental and physical health needs of the child and such future needs of the child to the extent that such future needs can be ascertained based on the present condition of the child
  • The love, affection, and other emotional ties existing between the child and the child's parent(s), siblings, and other relatives, and the degree of harm to the child that would arise from the termination of parental rights and duties
  • The likelihood of an older child remaining in long-term foster care upon termination of parental rights due to emotional or behavioral problems or any special needs of the child
  • The child's ability to form a significant relationship with a parental substitute and the likelihood that the child will enter into a more stable and permanent family relationship as a result of permanent termination of parental rights and duties
  • The length of time that the child has lived in a stable, satisfactory environment and the desirability of maintaining continuity
  • The depth of the relationship existing between the child and the present custodian
  • The reasonable preferences and wishes of the child, if the court deems the child to be of sufficient intelligence, understanding, and experience to express a preference
  • The recommendations for the child provided by the child's guardian ad litem or legal representative

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