As emotionally excruciating as divorce is, it shouldn’t take away the joys of child-rearing. Florida law acknowledges the critical role of both parents in laying developmental foundations during their minor child’s growing years. Thus, the state’s public policy maintains every child must have frequent and continuing communication with both parents.
Unlike other states, Florida’s concept of custody is known as parental time-sharing, which may either be shared when the child spends equal time with both parents or in a majority system when one parent has more time over the other. In cases when a parent has prior abuse or violence records, the court approves supervised time-sharing wherein a third party is present during a parent’s time with their child. Also, in extreme instances where the court finds it to be in the child’s best interests, sole parental responsibility may be possible.
Establishing your child’s best interests
It takes innumerable considerations to paint a complete picture of what’s best for your child. Florida law has an extensive list of key factors influencing a court’s time-sharing decision, some of which are:
- Each parent’s demonstrated capacity and disposition to maintain a close parent-child relationship, uphold time-sharing schedules despite changes, uphold their child’s needs over their interests, and provide a consistent routine and disciplinary measures
- Expected division of parental responsibilities, which includes delegation to third parties
- Duration of time the child lived in stable and satisfactory conditions, and how such environment is in their best interests
- The parenting plan’s logistical convenience, especially considering the child’s school location
- Both parents’ moral, physical and mental fitness
- The child’s current behavior when in school, at home or with the rest of the community
- A child’s reasonable preferences when the court deems them mature enough
- Each parent’s demonstrated knowledge, capacity and disposition to stay informed of their child’s circumstances and interactions
- Evidence of any prior abuse or violence
In line with keeping your child from further emotional trauma, you and your spouse must also agree not to speak poorly against each other and spare them the litigation process’ elaborate details. As your child grows, you must also demonstrate awareness of their ever-changing developmental needs.
Suppose either of you violates or fails to comply with the court-approved time-sharing agreement. In that case, you may be in contempt of court punishable by specific sanctions affecting your privileges to have quality time with your child.
Your child comes first
The court looks at every possible angle before finalizing a decision. After all, it is your child’s future on the line. While you look out for your child’s interests, you also need someone to look out for you and your interests. A legal representative can aggressively pursue a strategic course of action that understands your family’s unique dynamics while protecting your parental rights.