Understanding Florida child custody basics

Child custody can be a highly-charged topic during divorce and grow contentious as intense emotions may be involved in the process. As a result, it can be helpful for parents and families to understand how the family law process in Florida works and defines child custody which can help parents know what to expect and arrive at a child custody arrangement and outcome that is in the best interests of the child and benefits the family.

Parenting plans and other terms like time-sharing schedule are the modern terms being used according to Florida family law to describe child custody and visitation. Parenting plans must be established in custody and paternity situations. Parents are encouraged to agree on a parenting plan and time-sharing schedule but if they are unable to agree, the family law court will develop a child custody plan for them. Parenting plans govern the child custody arrangement between the parents related to their child.

In addition to a time-sharing schedule, parenting plans include information related to the child's education; the child's healthcare; the child's physical, social and emotional well-being; and other information that may be particular to the situation of each child and family. The parenting plan is intended to address time sharing, as well as to anticipate the child's needs during their upbringing as they grow and develop. It is important to outline in the child custody agreement how decisions related to the child's care and upbringing will be made.

Child custody concerns are significant and should be fully understood by parents in child custody and paternity situations seeking to develop a child custody plan that meets the needs of their family and situation and is in the best interests of the child. As long as parents understand how the child custody process works, they can be in a better position to resolve their important child custody-related concerns for the benefit of everyone.

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