Child custody and parenting time in Florida

Florida courts generally favor that children have frequent contact with both parents through parenting time granted to each. Even if one parent has sole decision-making authority and the other parent has failed to make child support payments, the parent with primary custody cannot prevent the other parent from accessing his or her child through a parenting time order.

In determining parenting time and custody, courts view each case through the lens of what is in the child's best interests. This is a legal standard involving the careful consideration of a number of factors. A previous conviction for domestic violence or child abuse will create a presumption that parenting time by the convicted parent would be detrimental to the child's safety and health. The presumption is rebuttable, but if a court determines that the presumption applies, then the court will not order parenting time for the convicted parent.

Parents who do not want the court to choose a parenting time schedule for them may try to come to an agreement by creating a parenting plan themselves. If the court finds that the parenting plan is in the child's best interests, the court will order parenting time according to the plan.

When people are involved in child custody or time-sharing disputes, it may be best to try to come to a agreement. However, if there is a history of domestic violence or child abuse and the victim believes parenting time with the other parent would be dangerous for their child, it is important to gather evidence of the previous abuse for presentation to the court at a custody hearing. People going through child custody disputes may wish to consult with a family law attorney for these and other parenting time issues.

Source: leg.state.fl.us, "Support of children; parenting and time-sharing; powers of court", October 07, 2014

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