As of October 1, 2008, the courts have done away with titles such as "custody", "primary residence", "rotating custody" and "visitation". Instead the courts now will require a Parenting Plan that includes a Time-Sharing Schedule. Timesharing can be better understood as the amount of time a parent shares with the other parent as to their child. In accordance with this new change neither parent will have “full custody” or “total custody” of the children. When parents of children are separating, whether divorcing or not, the court will consider what is in the children’s best interest when deciding the timesharing schedule. The timesharing schedule will also be important in calculating child support. One factor that is necessary for the calculation is the amount of overnights the parent is sharing with the child. This number will highly affect the outcome of the child support amount the parent will have to pay.
The abovementioned Parenting Plan is a very detailed document that an experienced Family Law Attorney, like Carmen G. Soto, prepares for her clients. An experienced Child Custody Attorney can make a big difference to you in Court. The Parenting Plan accounts for all religious holidays, birthdays, special occasions, spring break, winter break, summer, child’s birthday, parent’s birthdays as well as the weekly division of timeshare. The Parenting Plan also includes factors such as child's education, health care, physical, social and emotional well-being. In creating the plan, all circumstances between the parties, including the parties' historic relationship, domestic violence, and other factors must be taken into consideration. This Plan is a guide for parents to clearly state which of the above dates they are to spend with their child. However, this does not have to limit the time you may spend with your child. If the parties are amicable and working as team, they can coordinate additional time for each parent to spend with the child or share in activities together.
Once the timesharing schedule is determined there is another important issue that must be discussed and that is Parental Responsibility. Parental Responsibility is a legal term for “decision-making” in the child’s life. Effective July 1, 1982, Florida enacted the Shared Parental Responsibility Act. Shared parental responsibility means both parents retain full parental rights and responsibilities with respect to their children. Both parents must confer and cooperate with each other so major decisions affecting the welfare of the child are determined together. All major decisions are still to be made by both parents. Access to all school activities, medical records, and all information regarding the children should be shared.
The Court's rulings are always based on what are the best interests of the minor children. Florida's public policy assures that children continue having frequent contact with each parent. A divorce is not meant to sever the parent-child relationship in any way. The Timesharing Schedule and Parenting Plan is an attempt to coordinate the two independent lives of the parents in a cohesive fashion that is in the best interest of the child. It is usually in the best interest of the child to have both parents as involved in their lives as the parents were before separation.
In cases of divorcing parents, issues of Timesharing and constructing a Parenting Plan can be done in amicable ways through the help of attorneys or mediation. It is best if the parents work together to construct their ideal plan as they will have to abide by it until the child becomes an adult.
When you need to enter into a time sharing/ custody order with your spouse regarding your children contact Carmen G. Soto as your Child Custody Attorney in Ft Lauderdale.