October 23, 2012 /24-7PressRelease/
-- What Florida Parents Should Know About Child Custody and Parenting Plans
In many divorces, one of the most difficult issues to resolve is which parent gets custody of the children and how often the non-custodial parent will get to see the children. Each parent thinks that he or she knows what is best for the children, and the parents do not always agree on what that is. In some cases, the court has to make the final decision when parents cannot reach agreements. Parents in Florida should be aware of how the court makes custody determinations and what goes into a Florida parenting plan.
How Do Courts Determine Custody?
When parents divorce, they must make a parenting plan to determine custody and visitation matters, also called "parental responsibility." If the parents cannot agree on these matters, each parent submits a proposed plan to the court and the court approves one of them or creates an entirely new one.
Florida courts make custody decisions based on the best interests of the child. Florida law states that it is usually in a child's best interest to have frequent and continuing contact with each parent, so courts will often award shared parental responsibility, or joint custody, to both parents and allocate time with each in a manner that serves the child's best interests. If the court finds that shared parental responsibility would be detrimental to the child, the court may award sole parental responsibility to one parent.
Some of the factors that a court considers when deciding whether to approve a parenting plan include:
-The capacity each parent has for maintaining a close parent-child relationship
-The length of time the child has lived in a stable environment
-Any geographical issues raised by the parenting plan
-The physical and mental health of each parent, as well as each parent's moral fitness
-The child's record in the home, school and community
-The child's preference, if old enough to express one
-Whether there has been any domestic violence or false allegations of domestic violence
What Is in a Parenting Plan?
A parenting plan is a document that specifies each parent's rights and responsibilities with respect to raising the child. The parenting plan contains a schedule for when the child spends time with each parent, as well as the ways that the parents will communicate with each other regarding the child. The parenting plan also delineates the decision-making authority of each parent for matters such as education, health care, religious education and extra-curricular activities, as well as who will be responsible for providing these for the child.
Child custody matters can be emotionally-charged, and parents should not try to handle these issues alone. If you have questions about child custody, contact a seasoned child custody attorney who can advise you of your options.
Article provided by Law Office of Kenneth C. Gallagher
Visit us at http://www.otownlawyer.com---
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