What is a Child Custody Order and How Will It Benefit My Child?

A father waves goodbye to his child and the mother

The most difficult task you may find when going through a divorce is determining the custody of your child. It is crucial to ensure a healthy and continuous relationship between both parents and child and a shared parenting plan is what most parents use to formulate this relationship. Florida statute has a presumption for a shared parenting plan and requires significant evidence to be presented in order to overcome such a presumption. Your Orlando Child Custody Attorney will be able to discuss with you the specific needs of your child and the qualities of a shared parenting plan as well as how it may be implemented into your new family dynamic.

Legislators have made a large change in terms of child custody. In recent years, child custody orders contain both parenting plans and child support orders. Although used interchangeably, the statute has done away with the term of child custody and rather focuses on a shared parental responsibility and assignment of time sharing between the parties. Parenting plans detail and outline the rights and responsibilities of each parent in regards to the shared minor child. This plan includes how major decisions will be made such as education, healthcare or religion. The parties may also designate how extracurricular activities for the child will be handled, including registration, payment, or transportation. The most noteworthy provision contained in this document is the timesharing plan. The parties will be designated with certain days, holidays, and school breaks where they will have time with the children. Further, the document will detail the days, times, and locations to exchange the children to begin a new custody time with a parent. Finally, you will be able to direct how often and in what manner you will have contact with your children when they are out of your custody. All of these details may seem small, but it is important that you and your partner discuss these minute details up front in order to provide a guideline for the child and scheduled plan for when issues arise.

The other issue in a child custody determination is an order of child support. While a parenting plan designates physical responsibilities to the parties, child support orders mandate financial responsibility. Child support is awarded based solely on statutory guidelines. These guidelines are directly correlated to the respective incomes of the parties as well as the number of shared children between them. These awards will be terminated upon the child reaching the age of majority, 18, or 19, if the child is still enrolled in high school. Extending support orders is rare and are typically only done in situations where a child has been diagnosed with special needs where they will not be able to support themselves into adulthood. Your Orlando Child Custody Lawyer can draft an agreement that surpasses the legal age of 18 based on the specific needs of the child in question.

Both a parenting plan and child support award may terminate upon the child reaching the age of 18. However, they also may terminate under certain unique circumstances. If a child joins the armed services, gets married or becomes emancipated these orders will no longer be needed. It is important to know the many different factors of your parenting plan and child support order. These are crucial to the child’s day to day care and overall wellbeing. Working with an experienced Orlando Child Custody Lawyer ensures that the needs of your children will be taken care of and, if the unexpected arises, you can count on your Orlando Divorce Attorney to modify your child custody agreements to protect your children as well as yourself.

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