Divorce is never easy, and it can be particularly difficult for families with children. Parents want to do what is best for their children and so do the courts. Florida courts expect parents to come to an agreement regarding shared parental responsibility and time-sharing. Generally, parents share parental responsibilities, which include making important decisions for children such as medical, religious, and educational choices.
Parents must determine where the children will reside primarily and how the other parent will visit with the children. To this end, a parenting schedule must be created. There are a number of factors that need to be considered when deciding where a child will live. The courts will always do what is in the best interest of the child. Only in rare circumstances will a parent be denied access to a child completely.
Time Sharing Considerations
There are a number of factors that may be taken into consideration when determining time-sharing choices.
- Age and gender of the child
- Relationship with parents
- Health and well-being of each parent
- Ability of a parent to provide care
- Whether there are other siblings in the household
- Special needs of the child
- Stable home environment
- Support of family members
Additionally, if a child has established friends and attends school in a particular place it is usually an important consideration to maintain those established arrangements. When one parent has a history of emotional or domestic abuse or any criminal activity the court can use this when making a decision. Children who are older may request to live with a specific parent and these wishes may be considered as well.
Creating a Parenting Plan
A parenting plan is a detailed document that provides information regarding time-sharing. The plan should be as complete as possible so as to avoid confusion later. At the very least, the plan should indicate where the child will reside every day of the week and how and when visitation with the other parent will take place.
A plan can also include information such as the exact days and times of pickup and drop off and which holidays are to be spent with which parent. The plan may also include how vacations and time off from school will be handled. While working to create the plan can be difficult, it is certainly worthwhile. The result is a document that serves as a guideline for your new roles after a divorce.
Parenting plans are extremely helpful for families because they create a new normal for the child. The plan helps parents create structure during the most difficult time for families. The parenting plan becomes part of the divorce order and must be adhered to. If you wish to make changes to the plan you and the other parent must make an agreement in writing. Major changes to the plan should be done through the courts.
Going through a divorce can be stressful for parents. If you have made the decision to divorce, count on compassionate assistance from Henderson Legal Group. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.