Factors Used to Decide Time-Sharing Arrangements
One of the most difficult issues that divorcing couples with children must face is coming to an agreement on time-sharing responsibilities. When disputes cause out-of-court negotiations to come to a standstill, courts must step in and create a parenting plan. In making this type of important decision, judges are primarily led by what is in the child’s best interests. To help them in their endeavor to discover what situation would actually be in a child’s best interests, courts take a series of factors into account, some of which include the mental and physical health of each parent and whether there is any evidence of domestic violence. A court’s assessment of these factors in relation to a family can have significant repercussions on how parenting time is divided, so if you are considering filing for divorce, you should strongly consider consulting with a parental responsibility attorney who can advocate on your behalf.
Although Florida courts generally presume that joint custody is best for a child’s well-being and emotional health, there are a number of different forms that this type of arrangement can take. For instance, one parent may retain primary custody, so that a child can stay in his or her school district, but the other parent could have visitation on weekends or weeknights. When creating this type of parenting plan, courts take a series of factors into consideration, including:
- Each parent’s capacity to cooperate with the other parent and facilitate both parent-child relationships and respect time sharing agreements;
- How parental responsibility will be divided, which is largely dictated by work schedules and other responsibilities;
- Each parent’s ability to act in the child’s best interests;
- The length of time that the child has lived in the family home and has enjoyed a stable environment;
- Where each parent resides and whether keeping a child in the same school district is desirable;
- Whether both parties are able to set a good moral example;
- The child’s school record and reputation in the community;
- The child’s preference, but only if he or she is considered old enough to make a reasoned decision;
- Each parent’s knowledge and involvement in daily activities and awareness of important circumstances like the child’s health, friendships, and recreational activities;
- Each parent’s ability to provide a structured environment for the child, which includes mealtimes, bedtimes, and daily schedules for study;
- The parents’ ability to communicate with each other and effectively co-parent;
- Whether there is evidence that one or both parents have knowingly provided false information to the court;
- What types of parenting tasks that each parent currently perform and his or her ability to continue doing so in the future;
- The degree of each parent’s involvement in the child’s school and extracurricular activities;
- Whether either parent abuses drugs or alcohol;
- Each parent’s ability to protect the child from the litigation aspect of the child custody proceedings; and
- The child’s developmental needs and each parent’s ability to meet them.
An experienced child custody attorney can help you arrange a schedule that is focused on your child’s best interests, while also helping ensure that you remain as involved in your child’s life as is possible, so if you have filed for divorce and have a child, please contact our legal team today.
Contact a Parental Responsibility Attorney
To get started on your own case, please contact dedicated Fort Lauderdale child custody lawyer Sandra Bonfiglio, P.A. at 954-945-7591 and a member of our team will help you schedule a free consultation.