Pensacola Child Custody Lawyer
Florida Child Custody and Visitation Law
In Florida, the old system of child custody and visitation is no longer used. It is replaced by a system involving parental responsibility and time sharing. Although people still use the terms child custody and child visitation in conversation, the legal terms and processes those terms represent have changed. These issues are defined by the court through a pleading called a parenting plan.
The main differences between the old and new systems concerns the sharing of child-rearing responsibility by both parents. Instead of designating one parent as the custodial parent who takes on the primary child care and decision-making duties, courts now assume that both parents will retain responsibility for the care of their minor children and that both will participate in making decisions related to their health, welfare and education. Only in situations in which one parent is declared unfit will the other parent be given sole custody over a minor child.
Attorney Craig Vigodsky in Pensacola, Florida, is experienced in divorce and child-related matters. He strives to protect and preserve his clients’ parental rights. He can vigorously protect your interests in court in any dispute concerning parental responsibility and time sharing. For more information, contact him online or call him at 850-912-8520.
Florida’s Factors of Parental Responsibility And Time Sharing | Child Support Attorney Serving Gulf Breeze, Pensacola And The Florida Panhandle
The degree to which each parent assumes responsibility and how much time each parent is permitted to spend with a child is decided by a judge or negotiated between the parties. Any decision or negotiated agreement must meet what the court considers the “best interest” of the child. Chapter 61 of the Florida Statutes lists numerous factors courts use in approving parental responsibility and time-sharing arrangements.
- The demonstrated capacity and disposition of each parent to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing parent-child relationship, to honor the time-sharing schedule, and to be reasonable when changes are required.
- The anticipated division of parental responsibilities after the litigation, including the extent to which parental responsibilities will be delegated to third parties.
- The demonstrated capacity and disposition of each parent to determine, consider and act upon the needs of the child as opposed to the needs or desires of the parent.
- The length of time the child has lived in a stable, satisfactory environment and the desirability of maintaining continuity.
- The geographic viability of the parenting plan, with special attention paid to the needs of school-age children and the amount of time to be spent traveling to effectuate the parenting plan. This factor does not create a presumption for or against relocation of either parent with a child.
- The moral fitness of the parents.
- The mental and physical health of the parents.
- The home, school and community record of the child.
- The reasonable preference of the child, if the court deems the child to be of sufficient intelligence, understanding and experience to express a preference.
- The demonstrated knowledge, capacity and disposition of each parent to be informed of the circumstances of the minor child, including the child’s friends, teachers, medical care providers, daily activities and favorite things.
- The demonstrated capacity and disposition of each parent to provide a consistent routine and discipline for the child and daily schedules for homework, meals and bedtime.
- The demonstrated capacity of each parent to communicate with and keep the other parent informed of issues and activities regarding the minor child and the willingness of each parent to adopt a unified front on all major issues when dealing with the child.
- Evidence of domestic violence, sexual violence, child abuse, child abandonment or child neglect, regardless of whether a prior or pending action relating to those issues has been brought. If the court accepts evidence of prior or pending actions regarding domestic violence, sexual violence, child abuse, child abandonment or child neglect, the court must specifically acknowledge in writing that such evidence was considered when evaluating the best interests of the child.
- Evidence that either parent has knowingly provided false information to the court regarding any prior or pending action regarding domestic violence, sexual violence, child abuse, child abandonment or child neglect.
- The particular parenting tasks customarily performed by each parent and the division of parental responsibilities before the institution of litigation and during the pending litigation, including the extent to which parenting responsibilities were undertaken by third parties.
- The demonstrated capacity and disposition of each parent to participate and be involved in the child’s school and extracurricular activities.
- The demonstrated capacity and disposition of each parent to maintain an environment for the child that is free from substance abuse.
- The capacity and disposition of each parent to protect the child from the ongoing litigation as demonstrated by not discussing the litigation with the child, not sharing documents or electronic media related to the litigation with the child, and refraining from disparaging comments about the other parent to the child.
- The developmental stages and needs of the child and the demonstrated capacity and disposition of each parent to meet the child’s developmental needs.
- Any other factor that is relevant to the determination of a specific parenting plan, including the time-sharing schedule.