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Plantation Family Law Blog

Is your child having a hard time adapting to divorce?

No two children, and no two families, are the same. Florida courts do their best to create uniform rules and guidelines that they can consistently apply to make decisions on child custody cases. However, the different temperaments, attitudes and needs of children and their families require courts to maintain a high degree flexibility when it comes to deciding a particular child custody matter.

When making a child custody decision, one thing that parents and courts will consider relates to the ability of a child to adapt to the many changes that will be part and parcel to a divorce. Some children, for example, might struggle to adjust to alterations in their living schedule and family situation. Also, in the case of a 50-50 child custody plan, the child could have a difficult time moving from one parent's home to the other parent's home either multiple times a week, every other week or however the parenting plan was organized.

Strategies for creating a temporary parenting plan

A temporary parenting plan can be useful in the months it takes for your divorce to be finalized. Once your divorce is complete, you will have a permanent parenting plan set up. However, until then you'll need something that allows you and your ex to share time with your children in a fair and efficient way that reflects the best interests of your children.

Temporary parenting plans usually last for about one to six months. Here's what your plan should include:

  • How legal custody matters (or the decisions you'll make about your child's welfare, education and healthcare) will be shared.
  • How physical custody will be shared (or the schedule relating to who your child will be living with and when).
  • How you and your ex will divide child care responsibilities.
  • How you and your ex will share expenses related to your children. If temporary child support is needed, additional paperwork is required.

Make sure the best interests of your children come first

In all child custody negotiations -- and discussions about visitation schedules -- make sure that the best interests of your child come first. This is not only important for the welfare of your child, but it's also how a Florida family court judge will evaluate your case.

The thing is that the perception of what constitutes the "best interests" of a child changes over the time. As new psychological evidence is revealed by researchers, we are learning more about the best conditions for raising children and -- with new research -- this can alter from decade to decade. For example, not too long ago, Florida courts may have assumed that a child's best place is to live with his or her mother full time. Courts may also have only awarded limited visitation to the father. Now, however, courts are learning toward 50-50 parenting time, where a child lives with on parent half the time and the other parent the rest.

When biological parents take their children unlawfully

Biological parents do not always have custody of their children, but blood bonds can run deep and desperate parents may do desperate things to get their children back. Let's take a recent case that happened a couple of months ago for example. Two biological parents took their daughter unlawfully from her legal guardians.

The legal guardians in the case are the biological grandparents of the girl. The biological parents of the girl picked her up to visit with her on Saturday in May. The visit was only supposed to last two hours, but they never brought the girl back. The grandparents called the police, and the police issued an amber alert to find her.

Be careful what you post on Facebook as a parent

Many Florida parents enjoy posting pictures of their children on Facebook so family members and friends can stay up-to-date on the latest news of their children. However, when we post things on social media, they could end up being seen by more than just family and friends -- they could go viral.

Recently, a Sebring mother found out that a video going viral isn't always the best news in the world. The Florida mom posted a video on Facebook last month that showed her baby getting attacked by a snake. The problem is, it's clear that the mother purposefully put the attacking snake in front of her baby.

Supervised visitation: Helping kids safely see their parents

Psychologists and Florida courts agree: The more time children spend with both parents, the better off they are psychologically and emotionally and they grow and mature. However, what happens if one of the parents is a violent criminal, a registered sex offender or has committed domestic violence against his or her family on multiple occasions?

Even in cases of a potentially dangerous parent, courts recognize that it's important for children to have time with the parent. However, the court will want these visits to be supervised in a safe environment to protect the children from harm. This is where the practice of supervised visitation comes into play.

Does your family need a child custody modification?

Single parents have a lot to juggle, even when everything is going according to plan. It's not the same when you shift from having a two-parent household to having a one-parent household. Even though the modern trend is for parents to split caring for their children 50-50, so the children are with each parent on and off for half a week at a time, those days when you're caring for your kids can get hectic.

During your divorce process -- whether you reach an out-of-court settlement or rely on the decision of a Florida family court judge to determine your parenting plan -- you will likely develop a parenting plan that honors the best interests of your children, while staying realistic with regard to what's possible for you and your ex's schedules. However, after several years, as your children grow and your and your ex's lives develop, that parenting plan might not always fit the needs of your family.

Factors that may influence your visitation schedule

Among the different decisions a family law judge makes in child custody cases, determining which arrangement is going to be in the best interest of the child is one of them. In order to render such decisions, judges must weigh how well the child gets along with his or her parents and which one is most apt to equip the child with the necessary skills to be productive later in life.

Sometimes, this means that a parent's request for custody may be denied. In situations such as this, it may require you to devise a visitation schedule to see your kid.

What do you think of tri-parenting?

A new parenting model is emerging around the nation, and a lot of state family law judges are agreeing with the idea. It's called tri-parenting, and it involves a child having three parents instead of two.

On the surface, tri-parenting might not make a lot of sense unless you're considering a polygamous marriage. But if you consider the legalization of gay marriage two years ago, tri-parenting is exactly the model we need -- especially when a same-sex female couple decides to bring a male friend into the equation to have a baby.

Odd work schedules and child custody

Everyone has their own way of making money. Some of us have jobs that keep a regular nine-to-five schedule and others of us have anything but a normal schedule. For those who have odd work schedules, it's not a very big issue until we want to spend time with people in the nine-to-five world -- and it can become an even bigger issue if you're a newly single parent.

Doctors, nurses, firefighters, police officers and others working unusual hours could face special challenges when trying to negotiate a suitable parenting schedule with their exes. Let's say you're a firefighter and on shift for 24 hours at a time twice a week. Even worse, one of those 24-hour periods overlaps the weekend -- and your ex works a nine-to-five job at an accounting firm. You're going to have a hard time making you and your ex's schedules mesh.

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900 South Pine Island Road, Suite 230
Plantation, FL 33324

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