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.
Every year, thousands of people file for divorce in Florida. It is common for spouses to wait until the beginning of the new year to file because they want to keep the family together until the holidays are over. In many cases, however, there is no need to wait if circumstances are especially dire.
Some Florida fathers who are unmarried or divorced might struggle to get access to their children or to keep up with child support payments. Although courts are supposed to treat parents equally, mothers still tend to get custody, and 80 percent of custodial parents are mothers.
Florida parents who are going to court for child custody should prepare as thoroughly as possible. This may include bringing a babysitter or teacher who can testify to an individual's ability to be a good parent. It is also a good idea to think through potential questions that a judge may ask and have answers to those questions ready ahead of time.
For anyone in Florida ending a marriage that produced children, the process isn't over once a divorce becomes final. Co-parenting arrangements will need to be made between the parties who play a role in raising a child. Legally, co-parents can be parents or legal guardians responsible for a child's care. Oftentimes, these parties are the two individuals who divorced. While every situation is different, there are some ways to make the process smoother for everyone involved.
When parents in Florida decide to divorce or end their romantic relationship, both may be committed to ensuring that it does not also mean the end of their relationship with the children. Coming up with a custody agreement can be challenging but also important for developing a stable environment for children after their parents decide to separate. A parenting schedule can lay out logistics and responsibilities for how a child's time will be divided between his or her parents. By working together to create a plan, both parents can show their children that they are committed to putting the kids' interests first.
Some Florida divorced might think about arrangements for child custody and visitation in terms of the traditional schedule in which the custodial parent has the child most of the time and the noncustodial parent gets the child every alternate weekend, usually from 6 p.m. on Friday to 6 p.m. on Sunday. However, this schedule can be tweaked or restructured entirely to better suit the needs of both parent and child.
Divorcing Florida parents should know the days of a father automatically being relegated to every-other-weekend parenting are no more. All across the nation, legislators and judges are pushing a trend toward shared parenting. Fully integrating each parent into the lives of children has shown to benefit child development along with easing the pain of parents who would have been forced to spend more time separated from children under previous standards.
When Florida parents are heading toward divorce, the situation can become difficult for everyone involved. Even if the parents do not want to be together anymore, it is usually beneficial for both parents to play an active role in their children's lives. However, there are cases where one parent may wish to seek full custody of the children, especially if the other parent is abusive, neglectful or otherwise incapable of caring for the children on his or her own.
When divorcing parents head to court to determine who will get custody of the children, Florida judges usually make decisions using a standard called "the best interest of the child". Essentially, courts generally determine what will give the children the most stability and help protect them from conflict or abuse. However, this standard is vague, allowing the decisions to be susceptible to the judges' biases.