Dealing with a time sharing order can be overwhelming and vastly confusing. You want to be sure that you do everything in line with the order and not make errors that could affect your custody in the long run. Making changes in the lives of your children could be looked at negatively if they go against your parenting plan. Discuss any areas of concern that you feel may be a problem with your Virga Law Firm Florida Attorneys to avoid simple mistakes.
Know the Legal Standard
In all cases handled by the family court, Florida makes decisions based on what is in the best interest of the child. The “Best interest of the child” is primarily seen in the factors outlined in Florida Chapter 61.13:
(a) The demonstrated capacity and disposition 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.
(b) The anticipated division of parental responsibilities after the litigation, including the extent to which parental responsibilities will be delegated to third parties.
(c) The demonstrated capacity and disposition of each parent to determine, consider, and act upon the needs of the child as opposed to the needs or desires of the parent.
(d) The length of time the child has lived in a stable, satisfactory environment and the desirability of maintaining continuity.
(e) The geographic viability of the parenting plan, with special attention paid to the needs of school-age children and the amount of time to be spent traveling to effectuate the parenting plan. This factor does not create a presumption for or against relocation of either parent with a child.
(f) The moral fitness of the parents.
(g) The mental and physical health of the parents.
(h) The home, school, and community record of the child.
(i) The reasonable preference of the child, if the court deems the child to be of sufficient intelligence, understanding, and experience to express a preference.
(j) The demonstrated knowledge, capacity, and disposition of each parent to be informed of the circumstances of the minor child, including, but not limited to, the child’s friends, teachers, medical care providers, daily activities, and favorite things.
(k) The demonstrated capacity and disposition of each parent to provide a consistent routine for the child, such as discipline, and daily schedules for homework, meals, and bedtime.
(l) The demonstrated capacity of each parent to communicate with and keep the other parent informed of issues and activities regarding the minor child, and the willingness of each parent to adopt a unified front on all major issues when dealing with the child.
(m) Evidence of domestic violence, sexual violence, child abuse, child abandonment, or child neglect, regardless of whether a prior or pending action relating to those issues has been brought. If the court accepts evidence of prior or pending actions regarding domestic violence, sexual violence, child abuse, child abandonment, or child neglect, the court must specifically acknowledge in writing that such evidence was considered when evaluating the best interests of the child.
(n) Evidence that either parent has knowingly provided false information to the court regarding any prior or pending action regarding domestic violence, sexual violence, child abuse, child abandonment, or child neglect.
(o) The particular parenting tasks customarily performed by each parent and the division of parental responsibilities before the institution of litigation and during the pending litigation, including the extent to which parenting responsibilities were undertaken by third parties.
(p) The demonstrated capacity and disposition of each parent to participate and be involved in the child’s school and extracurricular activities.
(q) The demonstrated capacity and disposition of each parent to maintain an environment for the child which is free from substance abuse.
(r) The capacity and disposition of each parent to protect the child from the ongoing litigation as demonstrated by not discussing the litigation with the child, not sharing documents or electronic media related to the litigation with the child, and refraining from disparaging comments about the other parent to the child.
(s) The developmental stages and needs of the child and the demonstrated capacity and disposition of each parent to meet the child’s developmental needs.
(t) Any other factor that is relevant to the determination of a specific parenting plan, including the time-sharing schedule.
Talk to your Virga Law Firm Florida Attorneys to more fully understand this standard and be sure that you can prove in court that your actions are in the child’s best interests.
Try Not to Alienate or Bash the Other Parent
One important aspect the court will look at when granting custody or approving a parenting plan submitted by your Virga Law Firm Florida Attorneys is the relationship between the parents. Obviously, the relationship will be strained due to circumstances, but the court will not tolerate a parent purposely or maliciously damaging the relationship that the children have with the other parent. If the court finds that either party is acting in this manner, it will likely negatively affect their court case. Avoid public battles or disparaging your partner on social media. Keep your private thoughts private or these actions could come back to bite you. Do not openly bash the other parent in front of the child, or elsewhere, where the children or others can hear it, and or report back to the other party, their family, or their attorney.
Avoid relocation unless absolutely necessary
When a couple separates, there are times when relocation is necessary. However, the courts prefer a child is kept in the most stable environment possible. This includes familiar surroundings and school districts. If you have school-aged children, the court frowns on moving children during a school year unnecessarily. If a move is in the best interest of the child, your Virga Law Firm Florida Attorneys can draft a motion to present to the court, outlining why the move is necessary. Given the appropriate facts, the court may approve the change without it negatively impacting your case.
However, relocation can be difficult. The Court is going to focus on the child’s needs and interests, and not your own. In looking to the reasons you want to move, be sure that the primary concern is improving the child’s life and not one of convenience for you. The Court may deny the request to move with the child and place the child with the other party while you move.
Our Virga Law Firm Florida Attorneys can assist you in crafting your relocation and proposed parenting documents, and advice on looking reasonable and fair in a court of law. Call today for a free 30 minute consultation with our Florida attorneys.