When parents’ divorce, one of the most controversial and complex decisions is how to resolve issues regarding the children. There are various time-sharing arrangements available to Florida families. In Florida, custody is now called time-sharing, as both parents are expected to make decisions for the child, spend time with the child, and provide support if applicable.
Generally, shared parenting is the preferred option for child custody. However, the courts do review all factors when considering arrangements. Parents are both expected to provide for their children and spend time with them on a regular basis. Ideally, parenting time should be split in a manner that provides equal time with each parent.
Factors in Considering Custody
The courts have the final decision when determining child time sharing issues. Some of the factors that they use when considering custody include:
- Ability of each parent to provide care;
- The relationship between parent and child;
- Physical and mental health of each parent;
- Moral fortitude of each parent;
- Ability to provide safe, substance-free home; and
- Ability of each parent to meet the developmental needs of the child.
The most important factor that is always at the forefront of any decision is choosing what is in the best interest of the child. The welfare of the child is of utmost importance, and comes before almost every other factor in making a decision of where the child should live.
A parenting plan is required for all couples who have minor children at the time of the divorce. The plan is part of the Florida divorce statutes, and is necessary before a divorce will be granted. Parenting plans should address the major areas of concern regarding the children. Some of the important aspects that must be included are:
- Parents will share daily responsibilities of child care and upbringing;
- A time sharing schedule to specify time spent with each parent;
- Determination of how parental responsibilities will be distributed; and
- How parents will communicate with each other and with the child.
A detailed parenting plan will save parents from disagreements later on. The plan should include information about how to make modifications to the agreement should they become available.
Although parents often share legal responsibilities for the child, the child will usually reside primarily with one parent. Many times, the child resides most of the time with one parent and the other parent has regular visitation with the child. Visitation times should be outlined in the parenting plan. The parents need to share time when the child is on holiday or vacation from school. Changes to these arrangements can only be made through the court. A hearing must be requested where both parents will have the opportunity to speak to the judge.
Parenting issues are very serious matters because they can have a major impact on your child’s life for years to come. As a parent, you probably have many questions and concerns about parenting time during a divorce. Contact the Tampa divorce attorneys and bankruptcy lawyers at All Family Law Group, P.A. in Tampa Bay at 813-816-2232 for a consultation at no charge or email us.
By Lynette Silon-Laguna Google+