As discussed in prior blogs, there is no such thing as a “custody fight” in divorce under current Florida divorce law. The goal instead is to promote a quality time sharing for both parents with their children. That said, time sharing can still be a stubborn hot button for many divorcing parents. The good news is that divorcing parents are empowered to negotiate their own time sharing arrangements in a manner that works for each family’s particular needs. It is very common now for children to equally divide their time between both parents. In other families, it may work better for the children to spend the more traditional alternating weekends with one parent plus most of the summer holidays. Because of variable work schedules, another family may settle on a less traditional time sharing arrangement involving much more flexibility in week to week time sharing arrangements.
Importantly, both parental responsibilities for decision-making and time-sharing must now be written out in specific detail and approved by the court in a document called a parenting plan. Other child related issues like dependency tax exemptions, time- sharing exchange arrangements, holiday timesharing, holiday travel time with each parent, and child support may also be covered in the parenting plan.
Before you have your first meeting with your Florida divorce attorney, familiarize yourself with these concepts and think about how they relate to the needs of your own family. Don’t go in thinking that battling for custody is what its all about — there is no such battle any more. Keep your focus on the need of your children to maintain frequent and high quality contact with both parents, both during your divorce and after your divorce. It’s hard, it may seem impossible at times, but it’s far better than one parent “winning” and the other parent “losing” the children under the older divorce laws.
Parental responsibility and time sharing issues can be among the most difficult to resolve in some divorce cases. Learn how to approach these issues with your divorcing spouse in an effective manner by consulting with a highly experienced family law attorney, the Law Office of Jeanne Coleman. Jeanne has represented divorcing clients in the Tampa Bay for over 25 years. She is a highly skilled negotiator and litigator, and a strong believer in collaborative divorce in appropriate cases. Call her office today for a free 20-minute consultation.