Orlando Timesharing Lawyer
What’s commonly referred to as “child custody” does not legally exist in Florida. The state shifted to the philosophy and terminology of “timesharing” to reflect Florida’s public policy that children have frequent and continuing contact with both parents, and to encourage parents to share the rights and responsibilities of childrearing. In fact, Florida courts are required to order shared parental responsibility unless the court finds it would be detrimental to the child. However, in ordering shared parental responsibility, a court may consider the expressed desires of the parents and may grant one parent the ultimate responsibility over specific aspects of the child’s welfare, or the court may divide those responsibilities between the parents based on the best interests of the child. This means you have the ability as parents to develop a timesharing arrangement that meets your children’s needs better than a 50/50 split, but you must show the court it’s in your children’s best interests. An experienced Orlando timesharing lawyer can help you achieve the best timesharing arrangement for your family.
Developing a Timesharing Schedule & Parenting Plan in Florida
Coming to terms with potentially spending less time with your children and formalizing such an organic relationship is one of the most difficult aspects of divorce. A parenting plan lays out the agreement between two parents regarding each parent’s rights and responsibilities, a timesharing schedule, and means of communication, among other issues. To be approved by a court, a parenting plan must, at a minimum:
- Describe in adequate detail how the parents will share and be responsible for the daily tasks associated with the upbringing of the child
- Include the timesharing schedule arrangements that specify the time the child will spend with each parent
- Designate who will be responsible for any and all forms of health care, school-related matters, and other activities
- Describe in adequate detail the methods and technologies the parents will use to communicate with the child
Arwani Law Firm works with both mothers and fathers in timesharing and parenting plan matters, helping parents to find workable solutions through negotiation, mediation, and litigation, if necessary. Many times, when parents sit down together with their children’s best interests at heart, they discover that they, in fact, agree more than disagree about where and how their children will thrive best. Our Orlando timesharing lawyers can help you put these discoveries into a timesharing schedule and parenting plan that will be approved by a Florida court. If your relationship with your child’s other parent is too contentious to work out an amicable timesharing arrangement, we will aggressively protect and assert your parental rights to ensure you maintain strong bonds with your children while untying the knot with your spouse.
Florida Timesharing Video FAQs
Are Florida courts more likely to award custody/time-sharing to mothers than to fathers?
The legal answer is no. What the courts are gonna do are they’re gonna apply the best interests standard under the Florida statute. Some factors apply. There are 20 factors that the courts will look at. Usually a mother is the parent who is the primary caretaker of the child. These factors would usually help her out. Usually the mother is the parent who takes the kids to school, helps them with their homework, feeds them, puts them to sleep, takes them to doctors and so on. That makes her the primary caretaker. A father could always be the primary caretaker and that is when these factors would favor him. The fact that she is a mother by itself is not a factor under Florida statute.
Are mothers more likely to be awarded primary custody/time-sharing than fathers in Florida?
The legal answer is no. The mothers are not going to be awarded primary custody because they are mothers. However, if a judge or when a judge makes a determination on how to set up time sharing, what the judge is gonna do is apply that the best interest standard and factors under the best interest. There are 20 factors. Sometimes these factors favor the mother more than they do the father. These factors include, but no limited to who put the child to bed, who takes the child to the doctor, who helps the child with the homework, who is the primary care taker. That being said, the fact that she is the mother has no bearing on the judge’s determination. If the father is the primary care taker and the father is the person who puts the child to bed, who feeds the child, who takes the child to activities, who helps the child with the homework, then the father is the primary care taker and those factors will favor him.
At what age can my children decide where they want to live?
At no age. A child will never be able to decide where he or she will live. The child’s preference is something that a judge will consider under Florida statute. Under the best interest standard there are 20 factors that the judge will consider and the child’s preference is a factor. It is never the determinant factor. Talk to an attorney to figure out if these 20 factors affect your case.
Can custody/time-sharing rights be modified in Florida?
Yes, you can modify your timesharing schedule and parenting plan if you can agree with your ex-spouse. However, if you cannot agree with your ex-spouse, you’re going to have to go back to court and modify the final judgment. To go to court and modify the final judgment is a pretty harsh task. You’re going to have to prove to the judge that there is a substantial change of circumstance since the entry of the final judgment. To do that, you’re going to show what the change is and after you show the judge what the change is, you’re going to have to show the judge that this is in the best interest of the child. This is a bit simplified. You need to talk to an attorney to figure out if there is a substantial change of circumstance.
Do the wishes of a child have any influence in custody/time-sharing decisions in Florida?
A child’s wishes is one factor. A court may look into the child’s wishes if the child is in their teenage years. Usually they really don’t like to wing it, but sometimes it happens. The thing you need to consider is the fact that you are asking your child to make a choice between both parents, which is not really fair. You’re involving the child in the litigation. Both of these things that you are doing at that point is not in their best interest. Courts and judges know that it is not in their best interest to choose between the parents, nor is it in their best interest to come to court and tell the judge which parent that they want to spend their time with.
How can I stop paying child support after finding out the child is not mine?
You can definitely file a petition to disestablish paternity. However it will get really complicated if you are not current on your child support payments. You need to talk to an attorney and figure out exactly how to move forward if you are not current on your child support payments.
How does joint custody/time-sharing work in Florida?
Joint custody, time-sharing or joint parenting is when both parents have overnights with the children and have a say in the children’s life. You can attempt to settle with the parent, the other parent, and if you can’t settle, you’re going to have to go to court and have a judge make the ultimate decision for both of you. Now, what the judge is going to decide is how the time-sharing schedule is going to look, how the summers are going to be spent, how the school week is going to be spent, and how the holidays are going to be spent.
Another thing the judge is going to make a decision on is the actual decision making, which is a part of the parenting plan. At that point, usually what happens is these decision making rights are split between the parents or equally between the parents, which means that both parents have equal rights and both parents are going to have to agree on major decision making.
Sometimes there are reasons for one parent to have sole decision making on specific issues. If you’re a parent and you think you might be able to get sole decision making on some issues, please talk to an attorney to figure out if that is something that you can have.
I share custody/time-sharing with my ex-wife, but she is an unfit parent. What should I do?
The first thing you should do is talk to an attorney to figure out if the facts of your case will give you a modification. Modifying a final judgment is not an easy task. Talk to an attorney to figure out if what’s going on will afford you going back to court and modifying the final judgment. Modifying a final judgment is based on the substantial change of circumstance since the entry of the final judgment. Talk to an attorney to find out if you can do that.
If child support is not paid, must visitation be allowed in Florida?
Child support and time-sharing are two different legal obligations. If a parent does not make a payment on their child support obligation, then they will be found in contempt of court. Now, if the other parent who is supposed to pay child support is not making those payments, it’s a bad idea to withhold the child or the visitation from that parent. If you do that, you will be found in contempt.
What are some common arrangements for child visitation in Florida?
There is no one-size-fits-all. It’s very difficult to figure out a time-sharing schedule that fits everyone. It depends on the parent. It depends on their schedule. It depends on the child. It depends on the age of the child. If you want to talk further and figure it out, please talk to an attorney to figure out how you can come up with a time-sharing schedule that works best for you, your child, and your spouse.
What factors go into determining custody/time-sharing and visitation in Florida?
Florida courts are required to apply the best interest standard of the Florida statute. There are 20 factors that the courts will look at and apply. The most important factor is the ability of the parents to co-parent and keep the other parent informed of what’s going on with their child. Other factors include the moral fitness of the parent and their physical health. You need to talk to an attorney to figure out exactly how these factors affect your case.
What happens in Florida when visitation rights are frustrated?
If the other parent is keeping your child away from you, what you need to do is file a Motion for Contempt and enforce the order that you have. Your order has to be clear and unambiguous. Once you file your motion, you have to serve it on the other parent. At that point you move forward with the hearing, show the judge that the other parent has been keeping the child away from you, and you have lost time with the child. The judge might give you more time with the child at that point. Please talk to an attorney to figure out exactly how to move forward.
What if the parents disagree on child custody/time-sharing and visitation?
It depends on when the parents are disagreeing. If they are disagreeing before the final judgment is signed, they can attempt mediation, they can attempt to talk to their attorneys and figure out if they can settle the case before going to court. If they can’t agree, what they have to do is they have to go to court and have the judge make those determinations on their behalf. The judge’s determination is going to be based on the best interest of the child and the 20 factors under the best interest. Now, if they can’t agree after the final judgment is signed, there will be a court order in place, there will be a parenting plan in place, if a parent is not following that parenting plan, what has to be done is a motion for contempt has to be filed. Please talk to an attorney to figure out how to move forward.
What is a parenting plan?
A parenting plan is a legal document. You can either agree with the other parent on your parenting plan or if you can’t agree, then you’re gonna have to have a judge make a determination on how the parenting plan is gonna look like. The judge will make his or her determination based on the best interest of the child and the 20 factors under the best interest. Once that parenting plan is signed by the judge, that is a court order that has to be abided by both parents. A parenting plan will include a time-sharing schedule and the time-sharing schedule will detail exactly how the parents spend the time with the child, how the summers are spent and how the holidays are gonna be split between the parents. Another thing that the parenting plan will include is medical decisions and schooling. Those things are included in a parenting plan. If you have any questions, please talk to an attorney to figure out exactly how a parenting plan should look.
What is child custody and time-sharing?
In further, we use the term time-sharing instead of using the term custody. A time-sharing schedule is attached to a legal document called a parenting plan. A time-sharing schedule will state in detail how many days or nights a parent will spend with a child. For example, how many nights a parent will spend with a child during the summer is two weeks, three weeks, half of the summer and so on. It will also state in details holidays. How are they split and times for example; “Do I pick up my child at 6:00 a.m..” “Do I pick up my child at 6:00 p.m?” All that will be included in a time-sharing schedule.
Now, there might be reasons for you to get more than 50% with your child. That is something you need to discuss with your attorney. Once you do that you can figure out exactly how your time-sharing schedule should be decided.
What is supervised visitation in Florida?
Supervised visitation in Florida is when the time-sharing between the parent and the child is supervised by someone. Usually supervised visitation is based on the best interest of the child. If you are under a supervised visitation order, please talk to an attorney to figure out exactly how to move forward with your case.
What is the first thing that I should do if I am served with a summons and complaint in Florida?
You have to make sure that you file your answer within the 20 day period. Once you file your answer, you avoid a default. If you have any questions on how to answer or if you have any questions if a counter-petition is something that you should be filing, please talk to an attorney to find out if that’s something that you need to do.
Who determines how much visitation is reasonable and fair?
A parent child relationship is a liberty interest protected by the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. If you and your spouse can’t agree on time-sharing, what’s going to happen is a judge is going to have to make those determinations for you. However, the judge will never make those determinations based on reasonableness and fairness. The judge will make the determination based on Florida law, which is based on the best interest of the child and the 20 factors of the best interest of the child. Reasonable and fairness may come into play under those factors. Please talk to an attorney to figure out how these factors affect you.
Please contact Arwani Law Firm to learn more about timesharing in Florida.
If you have children, you need to be strong not only for yourself, but also for them during the divorce process. That includes having all the necessary information you need and answers to all the questions you may have about timesharing. To learn more, please contact our Orlando timesharing lawyers today.