Child Custody or Time Sharing in Florida

For the most part, Florida has shied away from the concepts of “custody” in its family law rules and statues. However, this doesn’t mean that such instances do not exist. Florida does advocate for “Time- sharing”. With “Time-sharing” each parent is expected to enjoy a certain amount of time with the child. It could be during daytime, nighttime or during the holidays as long as the child gets to benefit from time spent with both parents. A primary residential parent is determined and designated in addition to determining which of the parents will have sole responsibility when it comes to decision making on things such as school, education and religion in the child’s life. Florida Law appreciates that each child deserves the right to spend time with both parents which is why the law is clear in this regard. According to the Florida Time-Sharing statute in Section 61.13(2)(c)(1), each child deserves the right to have as much time and contact with both parents in the event of a divorce or separation. Parents are encouraged to share in the rights and responsibilities that revolve around the child. The statue doesn’t make any assumptions for or against the amount of time that the child will spend with each parent. That being said however, the ultimate decision as to time-sharing will be based on the child’s best interests. According to Section 61.13(2)(c)(3), 20 factors are listed which help the court determine the time- sharing issue. The first listed factor is the parents’ ability to participate in the time-sharing process. Each parent’s capacity to share and encourage sharing the child with regard to...

Mediation in family law

When it comes to family law cases, nothing frustrates more than a contested case! Contested cases tend to take longer than they otherwise would. When one is served with papers, he or she is given twenty days to file their ‘Answer’. After that, you can expect to wait a long period of time (anywhere from one month to two months or longer) as disputes arise against discovery, motions are filed or when hearings have to be attended for things such as time-sharing, temporary support or attorney’s fees. When a family law case is filed, you may find that one party is able to pay their attorney fees while the other is not. In such cases, it normally pays to try to reach a temporary support agreement as opposed to injecting money into the attorney’s fees or spending time waiting for a temporary support hearing. Granted, different circumstances call for different solutions. However, in most cases opting for mediation to resolve arising issues is better than dragging on the court case. Mediation is especially important if safety is not an issue. Of course, mediation may not be what one of the parties wants especially if their ulterior motive is to delay proceedings for their own advantage. Mediation can be a time and money-saver if both parties work to resolve the case as soon as possible. No matter how complex a case may be, mediation is a good attempt to try and resolve a litigated case as early as possible. Mediation is especially important when both parties realize that conflicts can only hurt them and their loved ones (children in case...

Modifying Parenting Plans

Unless you have unwavering reasons for Parental Plans modification, it is not something easy to do. There are many instances where people wish to make modifications in family law cases but without substantial proof, this may not be possible. According to the Florida Statute, section 61.13 requires that the person that wishes to make modifications show a substantial, permanent and unanticipated change of circumstances which helps supports the change in Parenting Plans. The Parenting Plans can only be changed if they do embrace the children’s best interests. Unfortunately, being able to proof said substantial, permanent and unanticipated change of circumstances can be quite a challenge in most cases and may not yield positive results in most cases. As such, it is especially important that you understand that a parenting plan once signed is for a lifetime. You should therefore be in complete agreement with the schedule given. In order to change a parenting Plan, the onus will be on you to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the current schedule is causing harm to the child/...

More than a parenting plan: Embrace the unknown such as Hurricanes

In Florida, if you have kids, you are required to file Parenting Plans. What the plan entails is what will happen to your kids’ welfare in case of a divorce. It basically covers things such as holiday programs, regular programs and extracurricular activities. In other words, it covers anything related to a child- parent relationship. Much as parenting plans are geared towards parenting essentials, they don’t touch on natural disasters such as hurricane. In such instances, there is an unexpected abruption in schedules that should be considered by the parents. While in some cases parents may be able to work through the disaster by shifting around the given schedule, there may be instances when the plan may not be effective. In life, it is not possible to account for each and everything that may or may not happen. However, it is possible to have contingency plans in place in case of unexpected events. As such, it is not a bad idea to have in place a hurricane plan so that in the event of one, there is no question as to where the kids will be. Being able to anticipate and plan accordingly for as many occurrences as possible can save your plenty. This helps ensure that you do away with avoidable problems in the future as far as your kids are...