Protecting your children while protecting your rights
Even in divorce, we want what is best for our children. But we still want to be in their lives– to share their joys, wipe their tears and encourage them to grow into becoming strong, happy and productive citizens of the world. As an attorney who has helped hundreds of clients in Sarasota, Bradenton, Venice and surrounding communities in this struggle, we want that for you as well.
Child custody may bring up visions of children being shuttled back and forth, caught up in the storm of bitterness between parents who cannot agree. In fact, while it is still often called “child custody” by many people, it is no longer the legal term. In Florida, it is called “parental responsibility”. Today, most Florida courts prefer shared parental responsibility which is a “court-ordered relationship in which both parents retain full parental rights and responsibilities with respect to their child and which both parents confer with each other so that major decisions affecting the welfare of the child will be determined jointly.”
How does Parental Responsibility work?
The “best interest of the child” is at the heart of all decisions regarding children in divorce. Shared Parental Responsibility is preferred because it allows both parents to make, or share, in major decisions that impact their child’s health and safety, including:
Education: which school the child attends or what type of schooling the child receives
Discipline: what is appropriate
Choices about meals, bedtime and curfews
Legal issues surrounding your child’s welfare
There are times when the court deems that shared parental responsibility is not appropriate, such as when there is evidence of child abuse, serious domestic violence, and/or very serious drug abuse.It such cases, the court may order sole parental responsibility.
What is Time-Sharing?
How much time will a child spend with each parent? This is called time-sharing in Florida.In most cases, a child will usually live, meaning spend overnights, with one parent more than 50 percent of the time.
An equal time-sharing agreement means that the child will spend an equal amount of time living (including overnights) with each parent.It should be noted that due to fairly recent legislative changes, the current presumption under Florida law starts at 50/50 time-sharing.
It is all part of the Parenting Plan
A parenting plan is the document in which issues regarding both parental responsibility and time-sharing arrangements are laid out in detail. Hopefully, spouses come to terms agreeable to both during mediation. If not, the court makes a determination based on a number of factors. In either case, a parenting plan is required in any family law proceeding involving children.
Contact our Sarasota, Bradenton, and Venice, Florida divorce lawyer to discuss your Parental Responsibility and Time-Sharing concerns
We are dedicated to helping you and your children get through the divorce process with as little turmoil as possible. Contact us or call our office at (941) 556-7020 to schedule a free 30-minute telephone consultation.
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