Your kids are probably the most important thing to you. Therefore, your existing child custody and visitation plan, or the one that you may be facing once your divorce is finalized or the judge reaches a decision in your case, may have you on edge.
You’re probably worried about how often you’re going to get to see your kids and what the time you spend with them will look like. These concerns are understandable, which is why it’s important to know what child custody orders and visitation plans typically look like in Florida and what you can do to protect your time and relationship with your children.
Florida’s parenting time guidelines
Florida law sets a standard for how parenting time (often referred to as time-sharing) should be divided. The plan will generally specify with whom the child will live, when visitation will occur, how pickups and drop-offs will occur, and any other restrictions that may be important.
If you and your child’s other parent get along, then you might be able to negotiate a time-sharing arrangement that works for everyone. If this isn’t possible, though, then you might have to take the matter in front of a judge and argue your position.
Just keep in mind that the judge who hears your case is going to try to make a decision that supports your child’s best interests, which means that you’ll want your arguments to be tailored to the relevant best interest factors.
How do courts assess a time-sharing arrangement?
Although the court is going to assess the child’s best interest in its totality when making a time-sharing decision, it’s going pay particularly close attention to a couple of highly relevant factors. Those include:
- The amount of disruption that the time-sharing arrangement will have on the child
- Which type of arrangement will best protect the child’s safety and well-being
- How the arrangement can best protect the child from conflict between the parents
- How the time-sharing arrangement can be used to build the parent-child relationship
- The flexibility provided by the plan so that unexpected changes can be appropriately addressed
Therefore, before you negotiate or litigate your proposed time-sharing plan, you’ll want to take a comprehensive look at how it will impact nearly every facet of your child’s life.
What about summer break and holidays?
Your time-sharing arrangement will have to be detailed as far as how holidays, school vacations, and other special occasions are handled. Again, you’ll want to make sure that pickup and drop-off times are clear and that everyone understands what the communication expectations will be.
After all, you’ll want to avoid confusion at all costs, as that’s what usually leads to conflict. Using a detailed calendaring app may be a great way to keep everyone on the same page.
Do you need help crafting your arrangement or your arguments?
There’s a lot to think about when you’re dealing with child custody and visitation issues, and it can be easy to get wrapped up in the emotions of it all. That’s why as you navigate the challenges in front of you, it might be wise to have a skilled legal advocate on your side. By doing so, you can rest assured that you’re presenting your case in the best way possible and that you’re protecting yourself from an unfair outcome. Doing so may be the only way to protect your child and your relationship with him or her.
So, if you want to learn more about what you can do to address your time-sharing issue, then please consider reaching out to an attorney who knows how to competently handle these sorts of cases.