Florida Child Custody Laws
When it comes to child custody, an attorney can help you navigate Florida’s new custody laws and get a timeshare plan that protects you and your children’s best interests. In our family law office we understand the anger, frustration and confusion that is a natural part of divorce and custody conflicts because we’ve been there. We also know that your rights as a parent need to be protected.
Florida law no longer designates one parent as primary custodial parent (which was usually the mother) and the other as visiting parent (usually the father). Now both parents have equal rights to time with their children and courts must develop timesharing plans that divide the child’s time as equally as practical between father and mother. This has huge impact on how courts order child support, since the father now fulfills more of his obligation for caring for the child through time rather than money.
For details on how child support is calculated and how you will be affected, please read the following article:
How to Get More Time with Your Children and Pay Less Child Support
When it comes to developing a timeshare plan for parents who are divorcing, Florida family law dictates a judge’s decisions be guided by the child’s best interests. While the judge has a lot of room to interpret what that means, the judge’s orders must be based on what is in the best interest of the children involved.
There are some additional considerations judges look at when approving or creating a timesharing plan that you can influence. You will increase your chances of having more time with your child and paying less child support if you:
- Demonstrate that you’re able and willing to facilitate and encourage a close relationship between your child and your ex spouse.
- Show that you’re able and willing to honor the timeshare plan
- Exhibit an ability to be reasonable when changes to the plan are required
- Display an ability to identify your child’s needs, take them into consideration and act on them even when they get in the way of your own needs and desires.
- Express an understanding that the child belongs to both of you and is not just your child. Using the phrase “our child” or “our children” in court is a good way to show this understanding.
These things demonstrate to the court that your time with your child does not need to be restricted in order to serve the best interests of your child. Subsequently, with our help, it is likely that you’ll be awarded more time with your child, and subsequently ordered to pay less child support. If your ex spouse and their attorney cannot demonstrate these things, you may end up with more than 50% of the child’s time and be paid child support rather than paying it.
Parenting Classes - Not Optional
Florida family law requires that parents getting divorce attend a parenting class prior to completion of the divorce. Even though you may be an excellent parent, you may not fully understand how your role as a parent will change and how to deal with those changes. These required parenting classes address those issues and it’s to your benefit to comply with this requirement. Our family law office can recommend places to get this counseling.
You can talk about your divorce and custody case with our attorneys for free - there’s no cost or obligation. Find out what your rights are and how your circumstances are likely to affect your timesharing plan (visitation), and child support payments. Schedule a free consultation with a child custody attorney in Florida on our Free Consults page. Or Call our family law office toll-free today at 866-995-0166.