Helping Families Pursue A Workable Parenting Plan
Children deserve the care and attention of both parents. At the Campbell & Madden, PLLC, in Shalimar, we help parents put children first by arguing for child custody and visitation (now referred to as time sharing) outcomes that are best for our clients and their children. Let our attorneys help you pursue a favorable parenting plan outcome.
In child custody matters and all legal issues on which we work with you, we will not just tell you what you want to hear — we will tell you what you need to hear. We know that it is important for your lawyer to explain the range of likely outcomes in your case so you can work for the best possible results.
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Addressing The Best Interests Of The Child
In Florida, as in many other states, traditional terms like “child custody,” “child visitation” and “primary residential parent” are being done away with. Instead, parents involved in a divorce or paternity action are required to adopt “time-sharing” and a “parenting plan” that specifies when a child will be under the supervision of each parent. This plan details the specifics of the child’s day-to-day life and the custodial arrangement, including time-sharing between the parents.
Reviewing Each Parent’s Previous Role
However, the basic legal standard remains the same: the best interests of the child. Generally, if one parent has been primarily responsible for caring for the child in the past, it is considered in the child’s interest to maintain that primary care relationship. An exception would be if a parent is unfit due to drug use, incarceration or another factor.
To a great extent, the court will look to the “blueprint” that the parties used during the marriage to provide care for the children. These include feeding, bathing, meeting medical needs and conferencing with teachers, etc. A contested time-sharing (custody) case can involve an examination of all aspects of a person’s private life. This is one of the most difficult issues found in a divorce and can cause the cost to be very high. The amount of time sharing can impact the amount of child support. A 50-50 time-sharing arrangement is becoming more popular but it requires the parties to have ideal circumstances that do not affect the best interests of the child.
The Child’s Wishes
The preference of a child is only one of over 20 factors that a court must consider when making a time-sharing determination in an initial or subsequent modification action. As a child ages, more consideration is given to the child’s preference. This usually becomes more relevant when the child attains the age of 12-13, depending on the child’s maturity level. Beware of what a child states about his or her preference! A child will often tell a parent what the child feels the parent wants to hear. In many cases, the child is telling both parents the same thing because they do not want to hurt either parent. It is best if the child is left completely out of this process.
Social Media has become a “gold mine” for relevant evidence in divorce cases. Do not put anything on your Facebook account if it makes you look bad!! If you do, the judge will hear about it at trial.
Once a parenting plan has been adopted, the residence of each parent is a key aspect of the plan. That means that if you want to relocate, there are specific statutory requirements before a parent can leave the state with or without a child, whether during the pendency of litigation or afterward. We are devoted to achieving the best outcomes for children by giving responsible, quality representation to parents in child custody and visitation matters. Failure to adhere to these statutory requirements could affect one’s ability to relocate with the child.
Accounting For A Change In Circumstances
The custody arrangement that is in the best interest of a child can change over time. And when circumstances change, it is possible to seek a modification of a parenting plan. If you are interested in modifying child custody, we will give you an honest assessment of the likely outcome. Even if both parents can agree on a modification of the plan, it is a good idea to have that agreement approved by the court so it can become enforceable.
Deployment Issues And Time-Sharing
If a parent is activated, deployed, or temporarily assigned to military service in excess of 90 days, Florida law gives that parent expanded rights as it relates to time sharing with the children. The deployed parent can designate another relative to exercise time sharing in the deployed parent’s place. Additionally, a parent returning from deployment may be entitled to significant “makeup” time-sharing.