This article is to help advise you or someone you know about child-related issues in family law matters. I have come across many people that are under the mistaken impression that mothers have greater rights to their children or to time with them than fathers do.
Parents essentially have equal rights. A potential exception exists for unmarried couples with children where paternity has not been established. If you want to learn more about that, please email me at Scottbrook@scottjbrookpa.com.
In Florida, there is NO PRESUMPTION in favor of a mother of a child. More specifically, Section 61.13 states that there is no presumption for or against either a father or mother of a child concerning any specific timesharing schedule when creating or modifying the parenting plan of a child. Furthermore, the public policy of Florida is for EVERY CHILD TO HAVE FREQUENT AND CONTINUING CONTACT with both parents after they separate or divorce.
I have also come across many parents that wish to impose their parenting opinions on that of the other parent despite the absence of any true detriment to the welfare of the child by virtue of the other parent’s parenting. Please allow me to elaborate by example. Dad does not like Mom’s new boyfriend. As a matter of fact, Dad thinks the new boyfriend is a bad influence on Mom as she is showing signs of drinking more by virtue of her Instagram and Facebook postings. But Dad has no proof that the new boyfriend is harming the kids, threatening to harm the kids and no proof that ties Mom’s drinking to the DETRIMENT of the welfare of the children. While the appearance of increased drinking MAY not be healthy for mom or the kids, it is extremely unlikely that a Judge would find this set of facts as a basis to alter any timesharing order as there must be proof that some new restriction of timesharing is necessary to protect the welfare of the child.
It is the responsibility of BOTH parents to encourage a relationship between the child(ren) and the other parent. To the Moms out there that are overly protective of their newborns, you actually have the responsibility, generally, in the State to also encourage overnight timesharing between your baby/toddler and their Dad, in the absence of abuse, abandonment or neglect by Dad. Of course, there are exceptions to every generality and you should consult with an attorney to know how the law applies to your specific situation.
So, why do some parents sometimes get much more time than with their children than the other? While there are numerous factors that a Court looks at, here is a quick summary of some significant factors I have found in my years of practice:
· Who has been the primary caretaker, if any?
· What is the nature of the relationship between each parent and the child
· Has there been any history of abuse, neglect, abandonment by either parent?
· Which parent is better able to facilitate the relationship between the child(ren) and the other parent?
There are too many issues to cover on this topic in a short article. Please feel free to contact me for more information.
Scott J. Brook, Esquire
Scott J. Brook P.A.
2855 N. University Drive, Suite #510
Coral Springs, FL 33065