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Plantation Family Law Blog

Activity ideas for visits with your child

Whether you're a mom or a dad, if you're the noncustodial parent, you will want to make the most of your visitation time with your kids. However, you could be drawing a blank on the types of activities to enjoy with your child.

Look no further than this article, which could provide you with some excellent tips to make the most out of your visitation time. Take a look at the following ideas. Do you think you and your child would enjoy any of these activities?

Supervised visitation: How it helps

Sometimes a mother or father falls into trouble with the law. Perhaps he or she has violent tendencies, suffers from a drug problem or has been convicted of domestic abuse or sexual violence. In these cases, a Florida court will likely choose to award full custody to the parent with a better legal standing. However, courts may still want to give children a chance to spend time with the noncustodial parent -- even if he or she has been convicted of serious crimes.

In cases where the noncustodial parent poses a risk or danger to the child, Florida courts will likely demand that child visits be supervised. Supervised visits are an excellent way for children to safely spend time with and benefit from a relationship with, a parent who is viewed by the court as potentially dangerous. Supervised visits like this can be of great psychological benefit to both the parent and the child.

New research shows that shared child custody is best

When two parents divorce, they can choose a lot of different strategies when it comes to sharing custody of their children. However, one thing -- according to psychologists -- will help the children have a happy and healthy future: The ability of children to spend regular time with both parents.

The fact that children benefit so much from seeing both their parents on a regular basis is why modern family court judges will do everything they can to ensure continued contact between the children and both parents after a divorce. In fact, family court judges may even grant regular child visitation to a parent convicted of violent crimes or a parent with a severe drug addiction. Albeit, those visits will probably be supervised and in a safe environment, but the consensus is that children benefit greatly from having contact with both their parents -- even if those parents could potentially have an adverse influence.

Parenting provisions: Traveling with your children

There are a number of parenting provisions you may want to include in your parenting and custody agreement that pertain to traveling with your child. A parenting provision is specific language that you and your spouse will agree to.

Parenting provisions ensure that you're on the same page and that you have planned in advance how to organize specific aspects of raising your child together. In terms of traveling with your children, there are several parenting provisions you may want to include.

What is reasonable child visitation?

In some Florida child custody cases, a judge may use the language "reasonable visitation" when awarding child visitation rights to a noncustodial spouse. What does this mean? Does reasonable visitation mean that your children should visit with your ex one day a week, two days a week or visitation should happen by some other kind of schedule?

Generally speaking, when a judge awards reasonable visitation, it means that the judge is entrusting the parents with the responsibility of finding a child visitation schedule that they can agree with and is appropriate for their child. Family law courts frequently prefer to give a general award of "reasonable visitation" -- especially in cases where the parents get along well and can arrive at agreements and compromises without court involvement. This is because parents will have the freedom to creatively agree on a visitation plan that works for both of their schedules.

What do psychologists say about parenting plans?

Parenting plans need to be arranged whenever parents divorce in Florida. These plans map out when children will spend time with and/or live with either parent. In the past, courts tended to encourage an easy-to-implement plan that involved the father seeing his or her kids every other weekend. The mothers would then take care of the kids throughout the week.

Psychologists disagree with this parenting plan, however, saying that children do better when they have specially tailored parenting plans that reflect their family's unique circumstances. In this vein, the parenting plan should reflect also the relationship the child has with both parents.

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.

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