Fort Lauderdale Child Visitation & Time-Sharing Attorney
In Florida, it is public policy that every child should have frequent and continuing contact with both parents after a divorce or separation, and to encourage parents to share the rights and responsibilities of childrearing. To promote this policy, the state requires mothers and fathers to create a parenting plan and time-sharing schedule. At Sandra Bonfiglio, P.A., we help clients establish arrangements that meet court requirements and fulfill the needs of parents and children. Contact our Fort Lauderdale child visitation attorney today.
Time-Sharing & the Allocation of Shared Parental Responsibility
In Florida, “time-sharing” has replaced the old system of awarding one parent primary custody in a divorce case and giving the other parent child visitation rights. When the legislature enacted the new time-sharing laws, it also modified and expanded the factors that courts must consider to appropriately allocate shared parental responsibility. The primary concern remains the best interests of the child, but courts must also weigh:
- The ability of each parent to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing parent-child relationship, to honor the time-sharing schedule, and to be reasonable when changes are required
- How parental responsibilities will likely be divided when the divorce is finalized
- The ability of each party to put the needs of the child before his or her own needs
- How long the minor has lived in a stable home, and the desirability of maintaining continuity
- Whether the parents live near each other and the child’s school
- Whether each parent is morally fit
- The physical and mental health of the parents
- The home, school and community record of the child
- The preference of the child, if the court deems the child to be of sufficient intelligence, understanding and experience to express preference
- How well-informed each parent is of scholastic and extracurricular activities
- The ability of each parent to provide a routine for the child, such as discipline and daily schedules of homework, meals and bedtime
- The ability of each parent to communicate with and keep the other parent informed of issues and activities regarding the child, and the willingness of each parent to adopt a unified front
- Whether there has been any domestic violence or other abuse or neglect
- Whether either parent has falsely accused the other of abuse
- The responsibilities of each parent before and during the divorce proceeding, including the extent to which parenting responsibilities were undertaken by third parties
- Whether each parent is involved in the child’s school or extracurricular activities
- Whether either parent has exposed the child to alcohol or drug use
- Whether each party has shielded the child from divorce litigation
- The ability of each parent to meet the child’s current and future developmental needs
- Anything else the court believes is relevant
Time-sharing means that each parent has full rights and duties with respect to their child, and that major decisions affecting the child must be made jointly. Logistical issues, such as how transportation will be handled, possible parent relocation, and the dividing up of holidays, must be outlined in a parenting plan.
The parenting plan may also contain language regarding a “right of first refusal,” which gives parents the superior right to care for their child over a third party or babysitter. For example, if during your regular time-sharing, you are unable to be with your child (you may have to work late or honor another engagement), instead of hiring a babysitter, you would offer the other parent the opportunity to care for your child until you came home.
Contact Us for More Information about Child Visitation Rights in Fort Lauderdale
If you need assistance with Fort Lauderdale child visitation rights and time-sharing, please contact Sandra Bonfiglio to schedule a consultation. From our offices in Fort Lauderdale, we serve clients in Boca Raton, Broward County and throughout southeast Florida.