The commonly used terms used to be "visitation" and "child custody." There was something controlling about them. They suggested a situation in which only one parent had control and influence over a child, while in another situation only the other parent had control and influence over the child. The terms suggested little, if any, overlap.
While "visitation" and "child custody" are still widely used, Florida courts now recognize the importance of both parents working together to give their children the best life possible, even if the parents are not married and don't necessarily get along. The increased emphasis on protecting children's best interests through the inclusion of both parents can be gleaned from the terms now used to describe parenting arrangements: parenting plans and time sharing.
Today parents are increasingly turning to parenting coordinators rather than judges to come up with an appropriate parenting plan. While many divorces still require litigation, not all of them do, and working with a parenting coordinator can not only help parents reach an agreement that is favorable to all parties involved; an out-of-court solution tends to be more cost-effective and efficient.
A key aspect of being a parenting coordinator is learning about the needs and wishes of the parties involved -- the child and the parents. The process then moves toward developing a parenting plan that all parties can agree upon. It should be noted, too, that a judge is not likely to have the time to give this kind of personal attention, and seeking a resolution in court means that the parents will have to deal with the court's schedule, which could result in a costly and time-consuming process.
At the Law Office of Kelley A. Joseph, we work with parents to develop positive time sharing plans. To learn more, please visit our child custody overview.