Florida couples with children who are divorcing may wish to try to reach an agreement about parenting before going to court. Although this is not always possible, sometimes parents are able to work with their attorneys to negotiate a parenting plan outside of court that they then submit to a judge.
If you are currently going through a child custody dispute or a divorce involving children, one of the most important steps you will need to take is completing a parenting plan. Since the laws in Florida governing custody and visitation matters have recently been changed, it is important that you are familiar with these issues.
The laws of the state of Florida contain several relevant provisions to help the court make determinations as to what the best interests of the child may be in a custody or placement decision. The legislature has listed several factors that it feels most strongly influence the child's health, safety and development.
When a court rules on the matter of child custody, it could order that one of the parents is awarded virtual visitation. As its name suggests, virtual visitation involves the parent using technology to stay in touch with a child. This might include instant messaging, email or video calling. Florida is one of several states that have enacted laws to allow judges to order virtual visitation.
Once two Florida parents make the decision to divorce, their lives may take drastically different directions. A custodial parent may have a job or other opportunity that would require them to move to another state, leading them to consider moving away and taking their children. Florida residents have been leaving the state at higher rates than in previous years, often separating children of divorce from their non-custodial parents.
Florida parents interested in child custody issues may know there are times when relocation to another part of the state or to a different state may be necessary. Relocating requires that the noncustodial parent and every other person entitled to visitation with the child either agree to the move or have the opportunity to demonstrate to the court that the move is not beneficial for the child.
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.
Because the splitting up of a family can have a major emotional impact on a child, Florida judges try to make decisions that are in the best interest of the child. As a result, one parent may be given more time with their child than the other, especially if the child has school and other extracurricular activities to attend.
Just because a man is the biological father of a child does not mean that he is the legal father of the child. If at the time a child is born the mother and father are not married, the child has no legal father. This means that the child is not able to receive any social security or military benefits through the biological father nor will the child necessarily know who his or her father is.
Parents who are involved in a Florida divorce proceeding have the right to argue for sole or partial custody of their children if they wish to do so. When a parent makes a request for custody, a judge will look at the ability of that parent to create a stable environment that furthers the best interest of the child. Once a ruling has been made, both parents are obligated to abide by that ruling unless all parties agree to change it.