Florida child custody laws no longer include terms such as “custody,” “custodial vs. noncustodial parent,” “primary vs. secondary residence,” and “visitation.” Due to the negative connotation of possession or control of the term “custody,” such terms have been replaced by “parental responsibilities,” “time sharing,” and associated terms that depict what really happens to children after their parents divorce.
Despite the new terminology, many continue to use the outdated terms in their vocabulary out of habit or understanding. If you have questions regarding child custody and timesharing, allow the experienced family law attorneys at The Finizio Law Group, P. A. to help you navigate this critical area of divorce.
The courts deem both parents equally important and responsible for caring for their child and, above all, are concerned with the child’s well-being. Maintaining a close relationship with both parents helps to ensure a child’s emotional needs are met. Shared parental responsibility is thus the default arrangement after divorce unless there is sufficient evidence to limit the responsibility of child-rearing to only one parent. Shared responsibility is the equivalent of joint custody before the changes in 2008.
When both parents share their parental responsibilities, they must both agree to all the big decisions made regarding the child’s upbringing, including all decisions surrounding education, health care, extracurricular activities, and religious activities.
Although each parent likely holds a strong opinion on whom the child should spend the most time with, judges consider several factors when determining the child’s best interests and how the parents will divide parental duties. It is in your best interests to work with an experienced Florida family law attorney who has helped families work through several child custody arrangements.
“Time sharing” is the updated term for visitation. Time sharing involves the schedule that both parents enjoy with the child after divorce. The court requires the adherence to a detailed schedule that addresses the child’s needs. This schedule, known as a “parenting plan,” must be approved by the court. If the two parents cannot decide on one, the court will provide one. Such a plan keeps track of which parent is responsible for fulfilling which duties and specifies the time the child will share with each parent.
Devising a parenting plan that works for all parties can be emotionally and mentally draining. At The Finizio Law Group, P.A., our attorneys are parents as well. We can help you mutually and peacefully create a parenting plan that ensures your child’s best interests while protecting your own interests. We have helped dozens of families pursue time sharing agreements that work for them. Whether you need to establish an agreement or modify a current time sharing agreement, you can benefit from working with our Florida time sharing and custody attorneys. Call 954-645-7700 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.