In Florida, the legislature no longer uses terms like “custody”, “visitation”, “rotating custody” or “primary residence.” These terms have been replaced by the terms “Parenting Plan” or “Parental Responsibility” and more specifically Time-Sharing.
The Parenting Plan document is quite comprehensive and its preparation requires the expertise of a qualified legal professional. This is where our team of expert attorneys comes in. We’ll help you put together a detailed Parenting Plan that takes everything into account, including winter and spring break periods, summer holidays, special occasions, birthdays for both the child and the parents, religious holidays and the general weekly division of time between parents.
Also included in the Parenting Plan are important details like the child’s health care and education, as well as their physical, emotional and social wellness. To properly develop the plan, the court will also consider the historic relationship shared by the parents and any records of domestic violence etc.
Upon completion, the Plan will provide the necessary guidance regarding the dates that each parent will get to spend with the child. However, this Plan is not the be-all and end-all of the parent’s relationship with their children. If both parents decide to co-parent in a good-natured manner, they may enjoy some of the activities together or make leeway for the other parent to spend more time with the child than is set out in the Parenting Plan and vice versa.
Time-Sharing in Florida
A Time-Sharing Schedule refers to the amount of time that each parent gets to spend with the child. This means that both parents get to share their child’s time so that no one parent gets “full or total custody”, as was formerly the case.
When deciding on the best time-sharing schedule for a child during the time of a divorce or separation, the court considers the children to be of foremost importance and will make sure that the final decision serves the best interests of the child. Keep in mind that the time-sharing schedule will have bearing on the child support calculations as well because they take into account the number of overnights that the child spends with each parent. This will highly influence the amount of child support that has to be paid by the relevant parent.
Parental Responsibility in Florida
In addition to the time-sharing schedule, the parents have to also discuss Parental Responsibility. This refers to the “decision-making” obligation that a parent has towards the child. The Shared Parental Responsibility Act came into effect in the state of Florida on July 1st, 1982.
As the name implies, the term Shared Parental Responsibility basically means that both parents will continue to take full responsibility for the child. The parents are required to approach all major decisions concerning the child as a collaborative effort, and this requires the sharing of all information that’s related to the child including medical records, school activities etc.
In its proceedings, the court will always rule in favor of the child’s best interests, especially if they are still a minor. Also, according to Florida’s public policy, the child should maintain regular contact with both parents. Just because the parents are divorced doesn’t mean that the child should have to sacrifice having a relationship with one of them.
The whole point of the Parenting Plan and Time-sharing Schedule is to synchronize the now separate schedules of the parents in a way that will make them equally available to the child and present in his/her life. It benefits a child to have both parents remain as actively involved as they were before the separation situation.
Even parents that are going through a divorce can work out a Parenting Plan and Time-sharing Schedule through mediation or with the assistance of their respective lawyers. However, the best people to make these arrangements are the parents themselves because they will have to live according to these plans until the child reaches adulthood.
Fort Lauderdale Divorce Lawyer, Kristin Padowitz
Going through a divorce can be one of the toughest stages in anyone’s life, especially when children are involved. For many, hiring legal help is essential. If you need help organizing a time-sharing schedule or custody order related to your children, contact us today to access the services of an experienced child custody Attorney. We provide legal services for clients throughout South Florida, including Weston, Plantation, Sunrise, Davie, Tamarac, Cooper City, Coral Springs, Fort Lauderdale, Hallandale Beach and Aventura, among other locations. Having a highly competent divorce attorney by your side is not only comforting, but will help insure you reach the best possible outcome. Contact the Law Office of Kristin Padowitz, P.A. today and speak with our divorce lawyer directly.