In Florida divorces where children are involved, child custody is often among the most contentious issues. Family courts make custody decisions based on the best interests of the child, and sole custody is ordered relatively infrequently as courts generally want to involve both parents if possible. Most child custody disputes end with some type of joint custody arrangement. When deciding on the specifics of joint custody, courts often weigh heavily the willingness and ability of the parents to successfully co-parent.

For co-parenting to be effective, the parents must maintain healthy lines of communication with one another, and they must have respect for the relationships between their children and the other parent. Children whose parents are divorced develop better when they have positive relationships with both of their parents. Where the parents don’t get along with one another, they might consider a parallel parenting relationship.

Parallel parenting is essentially a situation wherein parents co-parent, but do it as close to independently as possible. It’s an acknowledgment that the parents can’t work together with regard to the day-to-day aspects of parenting. They typically come to an agreement about major life issues like medical treatment, education and religion. The driving factor for most parents who choose this sort of arrangement is to minimize conflict going forward.

People who are considering or going through divorce in Florida have to deal with the prospect of significant emotional and financial stress. Divorce is among the most stressful events a person can experience in his or her life. A divorce lawyer might be able to help by guiding the client through the process or negotiating the terms of property division with the other spouse. A lawyer may draft and file the divorce petition, develop a strategy for child custody disputes or argue on behalf of the client during family court proceedings.