Child Custody Options
All families are different, so no single custody arrangement is appropriate in all cases. Instead, families should attempt to come to an arrangement that best serves the needs of their children. If you need help coming to your own out-of-court custody agreement, you should consider contacting an experienced child custody lawyer who can explain your options, while ensuring that your child’s best interests are protected.
In recent years, Florida has moved away from using terms, such as “full” or “partial custody.” Instead, courts assign “parental responsibility” for children and require the creation of a parenting plan that outlines a time-sharing arrangement. Parental responsibility can be divided into two major categories: physical and legal. The first term refers to actual physical custody of the child, while the latter involves the right to make decisions for the child regarding education and religion.
Courts prefer to have both parents involved with their child after divorce, so even if it is determined that a child will primarily remain in the residence of one parent, the court may grant equal decision making responsibility to both parents and put an open and flexible visitation schedule in place. This is an especially common solution when children are young and may find it confusing to split time equally between two different homes.
If the parties are able to come to an out-of-court arrangement, they may also want to take into consideration the preferences of the child who may want to remain in the same school, so as to stay in contact with their friends. Alternatively, if the parties decide to split time equally with the child, they may come up with an arrangement wherein a child spends alternating weeks with each parent or spends the hours after school with one parent, but alternates weekends.
Essentially, there is no single arrangement that works for all families, although if parents are unable to come to an agreement, courts will implement a standard parenting plan, in which the child will alternate holidays and weekends and spend at least one evening per week with the non-custodial parent. Courts are willing to deviate from this standard possession order in certain cases, as when there are concerns for the child’s safety or one of the parents is struggling with drug or alcohol addiction. In these cases, the court may order supervised visitation until the concerns are resolved.
Call Our Legal Team Today
Although going through a divorce is an emotional process, it doesn’t have to be acrimonious. In fact, it is usually in a family’s best interests to work together to come up with a custody arrangement that works for all parties. If you are thinking about filing for divorce, please call our office today to speak with dedicated child custody attorney Sandra Bonfiglio, P.A. You can reach us by calling 954-945-7591 or by sending a brief online message. A member of our team is standing by to help you throughout each step of your case.