Divorce is a heartbreaking experience for all involved and the situation can worsen when children are affected. Ten years ago the standard timesharing agreement was called a custody agreement and allotted a majority of the time to the mother with the father enjoying every other weekend and Wednesdays evenings with the child(ren). Today, the court system encourages 50/50 or semi-equal timesharing and shared parental responsibility of the minor child(ren). The courts have stopped giving automatic preference to the mother and instead look at each case on an individual basis to determine a timesharing agreement that is in the best interest of the child(ren).
Generally, the courts favor shared parental responsibility over sole parental responsibility. Shared parenting does not necessarily mean equally shared timesharing; it means that neither parent loses their parental rights. It requires that the parents confer and agree on major decisions in the child’s life such as their schooling, health and the welfare of the child(ren). If one parent wants to have the child miss two days of school for a vacation they must discuss it with the other parent and reach an agreement and the same goes for switching healthcare providers or any major decision involving the child.
Sole parental responsibility, where one parent retains parental rights and the other loses their rights, is a rarity in Florida. The courts ask that parents create a timesharing plan unique to their family and if the parents cannot work together to do so the courts will create one. When the courts create a timesharing agreement they take many factors into consideration to determine which plan is in the best interest of the children, including:
- How well the parents get along and whether the parents are able to keep arguments away from the child during transitions from one parent to the other.
- The age of the children, the reasonableness of their preference if they are old enough and if they need routine and the stability of having one ‘primary’ house rather than a constant switch back and forth.
- The ability of each parent to provide the child with a safe home environment that will foster the healthy growth of a happy child.
If you or someone you know is experiencing a divorce you are not alone; an average of 45% of couples divorce. The process is difficult and heartbreaking, but the attorneys at Platt Hopwood are here to help you and your family through this rough time. Our attorneys will work with you on an individual basis and learn your situation to ensure your children’s best interests are kept in mind. Call our attorneys today to set up a free consultation at (321) 725-3425.