Child Visitation Rights in Florida
Having to deal with a child custody dispute is never easy. When these issues are also coupled with all of the emotional turmoil that goes along with divorce, it makes taking care of yourself and your loved ones even more difficult. During these times, it is crucial to educate yourself about state child visitation laws and regulations so that you know what to expect during this process
Time-Sharing and Parenting Plans
In Florida, child visitation (time-sharing) is ordered once both parents of the child have put together a parenting plan that is filed and accepted by the court. Florida courts are primarily concerned with the child’s best interests, and have the discretion to set up a primary residence, 50/50 time-sharing, or other arrangements. In making these arrangements, the courts will consider the following factors in determining what is in the best interest of the child:
- The capacity and disposition of each parent to encourage a close parent-child relationship;
- Anticipated division of parental responsibilities of parental responsibilities, including to any potential third parties;
- Capacity of the parent to act upon the needs of the child versus theirs;
- Length of time child has lived in stable environment and desire to maintain continuity;
- Geographic viability of parenting plan;
- Moral fitness of parents;
- Mental and physical health of parents;
- Home, school, and community record of the child;
- Reasonable preference of the child;
- Disposition of each parent to stay informed about the child, provide a consistent routine for the child, and keep the other parent informed;
- Any evidence of domestic violence, child abuse, child neglect, or providing false information to the court regarding any action regarding these issues;
- Capacity of each parent to be involved in child’s activities, maintain an environment that is free of substance abuse, and protect the child from ongoing litigation;
- Developmental stages and needs of the child related to the capacity of each parent to meet those needs; and
- Any other factor relevant to the parenting plan and time-sharing schedule.
Parenting plans must describe how the parents will be responsible for daily tasks associated with child’s upbringing, the time-sharing schedule arrangements for each parent, which parent is primarily responsible for health care, school-related issues, address and registration for school, etc., and how the parents will communicate with each other. In essence, the parenting plan states when the child will be with each parent and how decisions will be made.
These plans can also be based on long distance parenting, and some parents may require a “Safety-Focused Parenting Plan” in Florida, which deals with time-sharing when one of the parents has issues associated with violence and/or drug and alcohol issues in the past.
Contact Us For Assistance
Whether you are seeking to establish custody and time-sharing through your divorce, or seeking parenting rights through other means, we can help you through the entire process. Please contact Sandra Bonfiglio, P.A. to schedule a consultation. We represent both mothers and fathers in child custody matters in Fort Lauderdale, Boca Raton and throughout Broward County.