Custody Determinations In Florida
One of the hardest parts of divorce is addressing the countless issues related to the children. Where will they live? Who will make final decisions with regard to critical issues such as which church, synagogue or mosque to attend, what medical interventions should be available, and whether home school, private school, or public school the best option? How will parents share time with the children, and what type of financial assistance will a custodial parent receive? These are all queries that are best determined through calm and honest discussions between parents. But unfortunately, civil discourse often is at a minimum in divorce, and the courts have to step in.
The Parenting Plan and Time Sharing
A parenting plan is unique to each family, and spells out the custody arrangements and decision-making responsibilities in a divorce. It denotes decision-making power to one or both parents, and designates living arrangements and visitation schedules that have been court sanctioned.
Considerations in Custody
When couples agree on a time-sharing plan and even mediation does not help, each will have an opportunity to present their preferred time-sharing agreement and the court will make a determination. The best interests of the child are the primary consideration, and the court is obligated to consider the following:
- The ability and desire of each parent to support and encourage a positive relationship with the other parent;
- The child’s developmental requirements and each parent’s ability to address them;
- The reasonableness of each parent to accommodate and flex the time-sharing schedule;
- The division of responsibilities for the child prior to the divorce;
- The degree to which parental responsibilities, such as child care, for instance, will be divided and/or delegated to a third party;
- The willingness of each parent to base decisions on the needs of the child rather than on their own desires;
- The extent to which the child’s life has been stable, and to which changes may be destabilizing;
- The time necessary to travel to a child’s school from either of the parents’ homes;
- The morality of each parent;
- The emotional, mental, and physical health of each parent;
- The child’s previous experience in the home, community, and school;
- The child’s preferences, depending on age;
- The desire of each parent to be involved in the child’s life, including medical, school, friend, extracurricular activity, and other issues;
- The willingness and ability of each parent to provide consistency and structure for the child;
- Whether the parent has demonstrated a willingness to include the other parent on activities related to the child;
- Any history of domestic violence, abandonment, neglect etc.;
- Whether either parent has been dishonest with the court;
- The degree to which each parent is willing to have an environment free of substance-abuse;
- The willingness of each parent to shield the child from disputes related to the divorce.
At WiseLieberman our committed and knowledgeable Boca Raton divorce attorneys are dogged advocates for our clients. To discuss your divorce goals, schedule a confidential consultation in our office today.