What You Should Know About Child Custody in Florida
When a former couple enters into divorce proceedings, there are many difficult things that must be sorted out. How will assets be divided? Who will maintain ownership of the home? Will one party receive alimony? And anytime there are children are involved in a divorce, there are special considerations that each party must take in an effort to create a parenting plan that works for everyone. Custody and child support are some of the more difficult aspects of any divorce but with the help of expert legal guidance and Florida state-mandated child custody laws, parents can find a light at the end of the tunnel.
At Yardley Law, we understand that your children are one of the most important things in your life and having to deal with a custody battle can be extremely stressful for everyone in your family. That’s why it’s so important for parents to have a clear understanding that working together to settle on a custody arrangement is typically the best way to prevent more disruption in the lives of your children.
Child Custody in Florida: 4 Fast Facts You Need to Know
The Florida state statutes don’t use the common term “custody” when referring to parents or other parties who may be responsible for the care of a child. Instead, parents must agree on “time-sharing” with their children and outline designated responsibilities for each party. In most cases, this means that they will need to agree on a time-sharing schedule that has been approved by the courts and if they are unable to make their own time-sharing schedule, the court will do so for them.
2. Creating a Parenting Plan
Every divorced couple is required to create a parenting plan or document that clearly defines how each person will care for the children. Each parenting plan must include at a minimum:
Regular time-sharing schedule
Holiday time-sharing schedule
Who is responsible for certain daily parenting tasks
Who is responsible for health care and problems at school
How parents plan on communicating with each other and their children
Important information related to child care, travel, the children’s education and any extracurricular activities
Child support is not part of the parenting plan because it is handled separately in the state of Florida.
3. Florida Favors Equal Time-Sharing Whenever Possible
Florida law states that children often benefit from the ability to have frequent contact with both parents and from both parents to be active in decision making following a divorce. This means that typically, neither parent will have any greater right to more time-sharing than the other during the divorce process. However, there is one big exception to this rule. If it is determined that equal time-sharing may be detrimental to the children, changes may be made. The court will take a number of different factors into consideration when determining time-sharing including:
The child’s health and safety
Any special emotional or developmental needs of the child
The child’s moral and ethical development needs
Parent’s ability to communicate
The co-parenting skills of each party
4. Parenting Plans Aren’t Final
The court understands that there are many reasons why a personal situation may change for one or both parents and there is room to petition the court to modify the time-sharing schedule or parenting plan. Common reasons for these changes may include moving to a new location, taking on a new job and even the age of the children. However, before the court will grant any changes to the time-sharing schedule or parenting plan, parents must show that the changes are unexpected or unanticipated and that all changes are in the best interest of the children.
Contact Yardley Law Today
Are you ready to begin the divorce process and want to ensure that you have an experienced and knowledgeable legal team by your side? At Yardley Law, we understand that determining child custody can be very difficult and stressful for everyone in your family. Call (321) 633-0400 for more information on the family law services we offer and be sure to schedule an initial consultation today.