Florida has moved away from the traditional idea of “child custody” that most people are familiar with. Generally, the idea is that a child benefits from a relationship with both parents; however, too much litigation was pursued over the titles of “Primary” and “Secondary” parent. Today, the traditional “child custody” concept has been divided between Time-Sharing and Parental Responsibility.
Parental Responsibility is who makes the major decisions for the minor child. This includes: Education, Religious, Medical, and Disciplining decisions. Again, the Court must decide what is in the minor child’s best interest. Should the parents have “shared-parental responsibility”, should one party have “sole-parental responsibility” or should parties have shared responsibly with one party having “ultimate decision making authority” if the parties disagree?
Ultimately the parties will have a “Parenting Plan”. Either by reaching an agreement or one issued by a Judge. This document spells out the parties’ time sharing and parental responsibility. Additionally, it addresses numerous issues that will arise when the parties attempt to co-parent the minor child. It is very important to have sound legal advice when drafting this document as you most likely will be stuck with it until your child emancipates. A Parenting Plan is only modifiable if a party can show a substantial change in circumstances that was unforeseen at the time the Parenting Plan was entered. A child getting older doesn’t count, so it important to consider the minor child’s needs in future as well as the present.
Time-Sharing is literally how the parties’ share time with their children. This can include schedules, holidays, and even phone and internet contact. While there still is significant litigation over what schedule would be best for the child, no longer is a party is considered a “secondary” parent simply because they have less than 50% of time with their child.
Mr. Bragg works with his client’s discuss the numerous options when it comes to time sharing schedules. In the unfortunate event the parties cannot agree on a particular schedule, the Court must decide. The Court considers a list of statutory factors to determine what time sharing arrangement would be in the minor child’s best interest. When this happens, a client needs an attorney like Mr. Bragg, someone they trust to present their case to Judge in an credible, effective and efficient manner.
With over 20 years of combined experience in family law, we know how to navigate the system to fight for what’s right. Let us fight for you.