Divorcing parents with children often fear what child custody and parenting life will look like after the final judgment. Let’s face it. Even if you and your spouse have made the wise choice to divorce with respect and cooperation, the very structure of your daily lives and the lives of your children is certain to change. And change is inconvenient and yes, it’s scary most of the time for most people.
Things will not be the same. And that change will most likely include the amount of time you spend with your children. It’s the reality of divorce. And this reality is one that strikes terror in the hearts of many a parent who don’t believe their spouse is capable of child rearing in the manner in which they believe it should be done.
When children are living in two different households, the same control with which you’ve become accustomed, is gone. Again, it’s the reality of divorce and child custody.
But, please take heart that Florida does have the best interests of your child embedded in our state statutes.
Child Custody and Florida Law
The guiding principle in our Florida Statutes (Section 61.13(2)(a)1) is “that each minor child has frequent and continuing contact with both parents after the parents separate or the marriage of the parties is dissolved” and that parents should be encouraged “to share the rights and responsibilities, and joys, of childrearing.”
With that said, there are 20 non-exclusive factors the Court can consider in deciding how time-sharing will look for your particular situation. When you and your lawyer can’t come to a negotiated resolution with your spouse regarding time-sharing (which is included in a document called a “parenting plan”), the Judge will decide things for you. And these and other factors can be considered when making the decision.
Becoming educated about your rights, duties, and responsibilities is one of the best ways to help alleviate the anxiety a parent can have about child custody during divorce. As such, you may be tempted to reach out to well-meaning friends and family for information regarding your situation. You may be researching on the internet. Please be aware that the information you receive from non-lawyers about time-sharing, parenting plans, and child support is usually at best, only partly correct and situation-specific, and at worst, downright fiction.
Please do yourself a favor and consult with an experienced Florida family law lawyer. You will get the information you need from an educated, licensed source. And so that you may educate yourself prior to your meeting, here is a link to the Florida Statute referenced in this article.
If you need help, give me a call at (407) 872-3161 or contact me through my firm’s contact form.
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