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As parents, it is natural to love our children more than ourselves and desire to be an integral part of their everyday lives. Because of this, the most paramount issue for most parties in a divorce is the issue of child custody and the extent to which they will be able to be involved with their child. The Florida child custody attorneys at Winthrop Law Offices understand the importance of a parent’s relationship with their children and vigorously seek custody arrangements for our clients to be active participants in their child’s life.
Custody (Timesharing) Agreements in Florida
Florida law consistently refers to child custody as “time-sharing” and strongly encourages each parent to spend as much time as possible with their child(ren). The courts also expect the custodial parent to encourage the relationship between the non-custodial parent and the child. In fact, the court prefers that neither party uses the old terminology of “custody” or “primary residential parent” or secondary residential parent”. In an effort to remove the stigma associated with winning or losing on these issues, the legislature came up with the terminology of “time-sharing”.
Timesharing is one thing. On the other hand, there is also decision-making. The court may grant shared parental responsibility, ultimate parental responsibility, or sole responsibility of a child. With any custody (timesharing) agreement, the court states, “the best interest of the child shall be the primary consideration.” Besides this general consideration, Florida Statute Ann §61.13 has various other factors that the court will consider in making its determination of a timesharing schedule and what type of decision-making responsibilities will be ordered.
Any modification of a parenting plan and timesharing (visitation) schedule requires a showing “of a substantial, material, and unanticipated change of circumstances.”
Florida Child Support
In addition to fostering a relationship between both parents and the child, the law also recognizes the responsibility of each parent to provide financially for their child(ren). Pursuant to Florida law, all child support orders must include:
- With a few exceptions, such as a child with a disability, that child support shall terminate when the child turns 18 years of age or same may continue until a child graduates high school, but not exceed a certain period.
- A schedule stating the amount of child support due monthly for all the minor children covered by the order, as well as the amount the child support shall be upon emancipation of one or more children.
- The month, day, and year that the child support is reduced or terminated.
- A provision addressing health insurance coverage for the minor child(ren).
Amongst other factors, the amount of child support ordered will depend on the parties’ earning capacity and the number of children being supported along with the amount of time that each parent spends with the minor children.
Relocation Of Custodial Parent
After a divorce or even during a divorce proceeding, circumstances sometimes occur where the custodial parent wants to relocate and take the minor child. Under Florida Statute Ann §61.13001, this can only happen under one of two circumstances:
- The non-custodial parent agrees to the relocation in writing. The agreement must be very specific as to how visitation, or timesharing, will be handled.
- If the non-custodial parent does not enter into a written agreement, a petition must be filed by the custodial parent. A court order will be entered, either granting or denying permission for the relocation of the child.
Child Custody Attorneys You Can Depend On
The astute legal professionals at Winthrop Law Offices understand your desire to be involved in your child’s life and will fight to ensure you obtain the custody (timesharing) arrangement you desire. We are well-versed in Florida custody, visitation, and child support law and will advocate for your rights.