When a couple that has children together decides to divorce, emotions can run high. There are often disagreements about which parent should take on the custodial role of major decision making. There may also be concerns regarding time sharing and where the child will live.
A child custody lawyer like Laura Spencer Coleman can help you navigate the confusing legal process of child custody after divorce.
Protecting Your Parental Rights
In Florida, concepts of child custody and visitation have been broken down into designations known as time sharing and parental responsibility.
Under these new designations, divorcing parents must reach an agreement on the time sharing schedule of their children. This includes the holidays, weekends, and weekdays that the children will spend with each parent.
- Each parent’s capacity to provide care for the child, honor the time-sharing schedule and be reasonable when changes are unavoidable
- The anticipated division of parental responsibilities
- Each parent’s ability to determine, consider, and act upon the needs of the child as opposed to the needs or desires of the parent
- The length of time the child has lived in a stable, satisfactory environment and the desirability of maintaining continuity
- The geographic viability of the parenting plan
- The moral fitness of the parents
- The mental and physical health of the parents
- The home, school, and community record of the child
- The reasonable preference of the child, if the court deems the child to be of sufficient intelligence, understanding, and experience to express a preference
- Each parent’s ability and willingness to remain informed regarding the child’s friends, teachers, medical care providers, daily activities, and preferences
- Each parent’s ability and willingness to provide a consistent routine for the child regarding discipline, homework, meals and bedtime
- Each parent’s communication the other parent and willingness to adopt a unified front on all major issues when dealing with the child
- Evidence of domestic violence, sexual violence, child abuse, child abandonment, or child neglect
- Evidence that either parent has knowingly provided false information to the court regarding any prior or pending action regarding domestic violence, sexual violence, child abuse, child abandonment or child neglect
- The particular parenting tasks customarily performed by each parent and the division of parental responsibilities, including the extent to which parenting responsibilities were undertaken by third parties
- Each parent’s involvement in the child’s school and extracurricular activities
- Instances of substance abuse
- The capacity and disposition of each parent to protect the child from the ongoing litigation as demonstrated by not discussing the litigation with the child, not sharing documents or electronic media related to the litigation with the child, and refraining from disparaging comments about the other parent to the child
- The developmental stages and needs of the child and each parent’s ability to meet the child’s developmental needs
- Any other factor that is relevant to the determination of a specific parenting plan, including the time-sharing schedule
Time Sharing And Parental Responsibility
The term parental responsibility refers to the major decisions a parent must make when raising a child. This includes decisions regarding the child’s healthcare, education, religion, culture, and travel.
As with time sharing, courts begin with the presumption that parental responsibility should be divided equally between parents. However, there are situations wherein the court finds that shared parental responsibility is not in the child’s best interests. In that circumstance, the court may order sole parental responsibility to one parent to protect the child.
If you are a military service member, you have the same time-sharing rights as any other parent. The Law Office of Laura Spencer Coleman can help you understand how time sharing will work, considering the possibility of future deployments or service responsibilities.
Advocating For The Best Interests Of Your Child
With the vast majority of couples seeking divorce, the well-being of the children is their biggest concern. Even with the child’s best interests at heart, it can be difficult for divorcing parents to agree on how to raise and nurture a child. This is why time sharing and parental responsibility disputes can be extremely emotional and contentious. Unfortunately, studies have shown that prolonged custody disputes can be detrimental to a child’s psychological health.
At the Law Office of Laura S. Coleman, P.A., we focus on minimizing the conflict and finding workable solutions that will provide peace and stability for the entire family. We are often successful at using mediation and negotiation to facilitate out-of-court settlement of time sharing and parental responsibility disagreements.
For complex cases involving concerns of domestic violence or abuse, we are prepared to go to court to strongly advocate for the parenting arrangement that best protects your child’s well-being. With more than 15 years of legal experience, lawyer Laura S. Coleman has a long history of helping clients accomplish their goals in child custody and other family law matters.
Contact Attorney Laura S. Coleman
If you’re facing a divorce with children in Florida, you deserve an experienced, compassionate child custody lawyer. Laura Spencer Coleman is one of the highest-rated family law attorneys in the Florida Panhandle. Contact our law office today at (850) 626-8520. We look forward to speaking with you.