March 02, 2013 /24-7PressRelease/
-- Working with a soon to be ex-spouse to create a custody agreement can be a difficult process. Making a physical custody plan, however, is necessary and it is important to do what is best for the children and to make sure they have fulfilling relationships with both sides of their family.
Florida law governs child custody
, and the purpose of the law is to make sure that the best interests of the children are honored. If parents are unable to come up with a physical child custody arrangement, then a family court judge will step in and make the decision for them.
Shared custody or sole custody
Florida courts prefer to award the parents shared custody if it is possible because of the idea that it is important for children to spend a lot of time with both of their parents. However, the court will always look at what is in the best interests of the child when making custody determinations. If shared custody will be detrimental to the child, the court will award sole custody to only one parent. If one parent is awarded custody, the noncustodial parent may receive visitation rights. In a typical arrangement called "time-sharing," one parent is awarded sole physical custody of the child while the other is awarded frequent visitation rights.
Problems can arise after a custody award if one parent does not wish to comply and prevents the other parent from visiting the child. The denial of visitation rights cannot be based on failure to pay child support. When a parent has been wrongfully denied visitation, the noncustodial parent may be awarded extra visitation as compensation for the wrongful denial of visitation. The schedule of the extra visitation will be based on the best interests of the child and convenience for the noncustodial parent.
Best interests of the child factors
When a Florida court makes decisions regarding child custody and visitation, it has specific factors that it looks at to determine what arrangement is in the child's best interests. These factors are also considered when the parents present an agreed upon arrangement for custody to the court:
Emotional, mental and physical health of the parents
History of domestic violence, neglect or abandonment
Stability for the child
Ability for involvement of the parents in the child's extracurricular and school activities
How the parents respond to the child's needs versus their own needs
Wishes of the child if the child is of suitable age
The court also takes the ability of the parents to get along with one another very seriously. This includes the parents' willingness to be flexible with one another when inevitable changes occur, and the parents' ability to support a relationship between the child and the other parent.
During the end of a relationship it can be very hard to try to show the court that the parents can cooperate with one another, but even though parents may be mad at each other, they must remember that they will share a child forever. As a result, they must learn to effectively co-parent with each other for the sake of their children.
Dealing with child custody is a difficult matter, and parents going through the court process should reach out to a family law attorney for help. An attorney can help parents gather the appropriate evidence and reach a fair result.
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