If you are seeking a divorce and you and your spouse have children or you are an unmarried parent and you are no longer with your partner, determining child custody can be a difficult and emotional process. Under Florida Law, parenting issues are no longer referred to as “custody.” The time spent with each parent is called timesharing. The legal document that solidifies each parent’s rights and obligations to their children in a divorce or paternity action is called a parenting plan. In addition to timesharing, the parent’s decision-making authority in relation to the children’s health, education, and general welfare is addressed in the parenting plan. In most cases, the parents share decision making authority, but there are some circumstances in which it is appropriate for one parent to make the decisions for the children. Those circumstances include safety issues or substance abuse problems with one parent.
Most of the time parents can settle their parenting issues and agree on a parenting plan in mediation. If they cannot agree in mediation, the parties will present their case to the Judge and the Judge will decide. There is no cut and dry parenting plan or presumption under the law that favors one parent over the other. The court analyzes what is in the best interests of the children using several factors outlined in Florida law.
Attorney Alyssa Vanstone understands how important it is to you to be involved in your children’s lives and to find the best solution for your family.