Child custody laws vary from state to state, but in Florida, courts give primary consideration to the best interests of the child when deciding visitation and custody issues. But that does not mean one parent will necessary receive sole custody. Florida law seeks to have both parents involved in their children's lives after a divorce. Deviations from this general presumption are permitted where the circumstances require it.
Some readers are likely aware of the breaking news that Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes, married for five years, appear headed for divorce. Child custody will undoubtedly play a large role in their divorce since sources indicate that Holmes is attempting to obtain principal residential custody and full legal custody of the couple's 6-year-old daughter. Legal custody denotes the ability of a parent to make certain decisions on behalf of a child, such as those regarding medical treatment or education.
Some family law attorneys have expressed skepticism that Holmes would succeed in convincing a court to grant sole custody. Others, however, said that the result may depend on where the case is held. The couple has residences in multiple states, but Holmes filed for divorce in New York, whose courts would be more likely to agree to sole custody than a judge in California, according to one attorney.
One of the primary grounds for debate regarding custody could be Cruise's strong affiliation with the Church of Scientology. That religion's tenets include eschewing some forms of modern medicine. One family law attorney has suggested that Holmes may be seeking sole legal custody so that that religion's teachings on medicine do not have an effect on her daughter. Whether she is successful depends on whether she can show those teachings would operate at cross purposes with the child's best interests, said the attorney.
Source: FOX News, "In seeking sole custody, does Katie Holmes need evidence Tom Cruise is dud dad?" Hollie McKay, July 2, 2012.