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Rice Family Lawyers

 When spouses divorce or unmarried
parents separate and they have minor children, Florida law requires that the court approve a parenting plan that covers all issues related to the children.  In the past, children were considered in the “custody” of one parent or another.  In recent years, “parenting plans” and “timesharing schedules” replaced the traditional concepts of “custody ” and “visitation.” At present, the  term custody is rarely used in the family law context.
 

At minimum, a parenting plan must describe in adequate detail how the parents will share responsibility for the daily tasks associated with the upbringing of the child. The timesharing schedule must specify the times the child will spend with each parent. The parenting plan designates who will be responsible for obtaining health insurance for the child, whose address will be designated for school purposes, and how the parents will communicate with each other and the children. 

It is the policy of the State of Florida that minor children have frequent and continuing contact with both parents, and parents are encouraged to share the rights, responsibilities and joys of childrearing. There is no presumption in favor of the father or the mother of the child or for any specific schedule when creating a parenting plan.

Generally, the Court will consider that shared parental responsibility is in the best interest of the child, unless it would be detrimental to the child. In the event that a parent has been convicted of domestic violence, the Court must consider that evidence as detrimental to the child.

The best interest factors the Court must consider in ratifying a parenting plan are outlined in Fla. Stat. §61.13. Some of the factors are: the ability of the parent to encourage and facilitate a close relationship with the child and the other parent; which third parties will care for the child; whether or not a parent demonstrates the ability to consider the child’s interest rather than his or her own interests, the mental and physical health of the parents, evidence of past neglect or abuse, and the preference of the child if he or she is of sufficient age and maturity to express a preference.   

Navigating issues involving children during a divorce requires both sensitivity and specialized legal expertise. The experienced family law attorneys at the Rice & Rose Law Firm will assist you in developing an appropriate parenting plan for your children for court approval.  If you and your spouse or significant other cannot agree on what’s best for your children, we are prepared to go to Court to fight for your position.

 

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