How Blended Families Can Affect Time-Sharing Arrangements
The idea of what constitutes a “typical” family has undergone immense changes over the last few decades. Now, more than ever, a variety of arrangements are considered to qualify as a family unit. This change in attitude reflects a few different societal shifts, including the increasing prevalence of single-parent, same-sex, and blended families. Fortunately, these changes have come to be reflected, to a certain degree, in Florida parenting plans, so if you are going through a divorce, or are involved in a custody dispute and need help coming up with a time-sharing arrangement that is in your child’s best interests, it is important to speak with an experienced Fort Lauderdale child visitation and time-sharing lawyer who can advise you.
What is a Blended Family?
Defining what qualifies as a blended family is complicated, simply because they can take so many different forms. A blended family could, for instance, involve a situation where a child’s biological parent remarries and is then parented by his or her stepmother or stepfather. In other cases, a blended family includes grandparents, aunts and uncles, or other extended family members, all of whom could develop strong bonds with the children in their household, even if they are not the child’s parents. Children may also live with half-siblings or stepbrothers and stepsisters, to whom they aren’t related at all.
As you can see, the makeup of the modern blended family is difficult to define, which in turn, means that divorce, when it involves “unblending” a family, can be extremely complicated, both from a legal and an emotional perspective.
The Benefits of a Highly Structured Parenting Plan
Although the specifics of a time-sharing schedule will vary from one family to the next, most parenting plans in Florida focus on maximizing the relationships between parents and their children, while also minimizing disruptions to that child’s day-to-day life. To this end, Florida courts divide parenting plans into a few different categories, including safety-focused plans, basic plans, and long-distance plans. For a highly blended family, an extremely structured plan will probably be necessary, as it can clarify time-sharing considerations, while reducing the potential for conflict.
These types of highly structured plans can help blended families resolve issues with standard visitation, as well as arrangements for holidays and vacations. Further, a structured parenting plan can ensure that children still have time with a previous or current stepparent, who generally don’t have legal rights to time-sharing unless they are biologically related to, or have adopted a child. Blended families also often include grandparents, who are, like stepparents, largely without rights to visitation, except in a few specific circumstances. It is, however, possible to account for these relationships in a parenting plan, as long as a child’s parents agree.
Meet with Our Legal Team Today
Flexibility and compromise are critical to developing time-sharing arrangements for the children of blended families. For help coming up with a creative salutation that allows your own children to receive the care they deserve from a variety of family members, please call dedicated Florida child visitation and time-sharing lawyer Sandra Bonfiglio, P.A. at 954-945-7591 today.