One of the most important decisions a child custody lawyer will need to assist you with is which parent will be spending the majority of the time with your children. Many families in Florida believe this is referred to as child custody. Most people don’t realize that Florida’s laws concerning child custody changed in 2008. These changes did away with the idea of custody. Florida courts now must decide what “timesharing” a parent will have with his or her children.
Florida courts now require that every divorce case involving children include a parenting plan. Florida Statutes define what a parenting plan must include. Its primary purpose is to set forth how parents will work together to make decisions for their children. The parenting plan also contains the timesharing between the parents and their children.
A child custody lawyer should take special care in ensuring the parenting plan is designed to be flexible to account for your kids as they grow. Parenting plans should specifically address how decisions concerning your children’s education, health care, and physical, social, and emotional well-being are made.
Even when a parenting plan is agreed to by both parents, it must be approved by the court. If the parents cannot agree, a child custody lawyer will need to present evidence at trial as to why the plan you are proposing is in the best interest of your kids.
One important distinction a child custody lawyer should make sure you understand is whether you are seeking timesharing as a part of a divorce or as a part of a paternity action. In a divorce case, the court must enter a parenting plan. In a paternity case, there is no requirement that a parenting plan be established.
This is especially important if you are a father. Until a parenting plan or time-sharing schedule is awarded by the court in a paternity case, the mother receives all time sharing and receives sole parental responsibility. Sole parental responsibility means the mother is able to make all important decisions for the children.
When parents cannot agree as to timesharing and a parenting plan, a court must decide by hearing evidence presented by a child custody lawyer at a trial. The court considers many factors in making this determination, including:
These are not the only factors a court will consider. Evidence concerning domestic violence, substance abuse and certain criminal convictions also play a part in the court’s decision. A child custody lawyer should carefully walk you through each factor and how it could impact your desired timesharing and parenting plan.
A court may also rely upon the testimony of third parties in deciding whether a plan is right for your child. Tools such as parenting coordinators, social investigations, and parenting plan recommendations may be an important part of your case. These tools are especially important in cases involving domestic violence or emotional and psychological issues. A child custody lawyer should discuss whether these options are an important part of your case after carefully reviewing your family’s history.
At Christopher M. Sprysenski, P.A., we understand that every client’s family is unique. A child custody lawyer with our firm will carefully review the facts of your case with you, and how the different elements of Florida law may impact the plan you’d like in place. Our firm wants to develop a plan that grows with your child, and that avoids you having to go through expensive litigation in the future. We design creative provisions concerning timesharing, travel, extracurricular activities, and moral development to ensure a parenting plan covers your parenting goals.
Want help in developing a long lasting parenting plan? Contact Christopher M. Sprysenski, P.A. to schedule a consultation with an Orlando child custody lawyer with our firm. Call us today at 407-630-8485. We offer payment plans and accept all major credit cards.