Custody rights are one of the most delicate subjects in a divorce because you are dealing with children; their lives, their emotions and their stability. Important questions will arise for example, whether your child will live primarily with you, and whether you will be able to make important decisions regarding your children’s well-being and upbringing.
What is a Parenting Plan?
A Parenting Plan is the legal document that delineates the parent’s rights and responsibilities of the parents’ with regards to their children. The parenting plan specifically states which days the children will be with each parent, schedules for holidays, vacations, and religious holidays among others.
In Florida, the parents can agree on the division of time each parent will be spending with the children. The time a child spends with each parent is called timesharing. If they cannot agree, the decision will be left up to the Court based on the best interest of the child.
These following statutory factors influence the court’s decision:
The demonstrated capacity and disposition of each parent to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing relationship between parents and children, to honor the established custody, and be reasonable when changes are required.
The anticipated division of parental responsibilities after the litigation, including the extent to which the responsibilities will be delegated to third parties.
The demonstrated capacity and disposition of each parent to determine, consider, and act on the child’s needs rather than the needs or desires of the parents.
The amount of time the child has lived in a stable, satisfactory environment and the desirability of maintaining continuity.
The geographic viability of the parenting plan , with special attention to the needs of school-age children and the amount of time spent traveling to make the parenting plan . This factor does not create a presumption for or against relocation of either parent with a child.
The moral fitness of the parents.
The mental and physical health of the parents.
The reasonable preference of the child, if the court finds that the child is of sufficient intelligence, understanding and has the maturity to express preferences.
The demonstrated ability and willingness of each parent, to be informed of the child’s circumstances, including, but not limited to, the child’s friends, teachers, medical care providers, daily activities, and favorite things.
Demonstrated ability and willingness of each parent to provide a consistent routine for the child, such as discipline, and daily schedules for homework, meals and bedtimes.
The demonstrated ability of each parent to communicate with and keep the other parent informed of issues and activities relating to the child, and the willingness of each parent to adopt a unified front on all major issues when it comes to children.
Evidence of domestic violence, sexual violence, child abuse, child abandonment, or child neglect, regardless of whether a prior or pending action relating to those issues has been brought.
Evidence that either parent to knowingly provide false information to the court regarding any prior or pending action regarding domestic violence, sexual violence, child abuse, child abandonment or neglect.
Specific parenting tasks that are usually performed by each parent and the division of parental responsibilities before the start of litigation and the pending litigation, including the extent to which parenting responsibilities were undertaken by third parties.
The demonstrated capacity and disposition of each parent to participate and be involved in the child’s school and extracurricular activities.
The disposition of each parent to maintain an environment for the child which is free from substance abuse.
The ability and willingness of each parent to protect the child from the ongoing litigation as demonstrated by not discussing the litigation with the child, not sharing documents with the child, and refraining from disparaging comments about the other parent to the child.
The stages and needs of the child and the demonstrated capacity and disposition of each parent to meet the child’s developmental needs.
Any other factors relevant to the determination of a specific parenting plan, including time-sharing scheduling.
If you are facing child custody questions, contact Jeannette Watkin, Esq. to represent you in your child custody proceedings. Call JWatkin Law. P.A., for a confidential consultation at (786) 272-6360, or contact us online.