‘Custody Battles’ and How to Battle Through Them
One of the most contested issues in the context of a divorce is who will keep the children and who will make the day-to-day as well as long-term decisions affecting the children’s lives, health, education, and upbringing.
Florida uses the term ‘time sharing’ to discuss what is traditionally known as custody. However, the statute includes the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act to deal with inter state custody litigation, and continues to use the term custody to refer to court ordered parental responsibilities for the care of the children.
When discussing Florida time sharing matters, it is important that each parent keeps in mind the following points and establishes their point of view on each one of them to ensure a streamlined negotiation process without any undue delays or causing any further strains in the relationship.
- Physical v. legal custody. Physical custody means the physical supervision of the children. It relates to where the children will reside or if the children will split their time between both parents’ residences. On the other hand, legal custody refers to which of the parents will have the right and obligations of making decisions regarding the children’s education, health or any other decision affecting the children’s upbringing. This also covers day-to-day decisions such as third-party care providers. It is important for parents to keep the children’s best interests as a priority when determining who will be in a better position to cover these aspects of children’s lives or whether they will argue in court on any of these points.
- Sole v. Shared Parental responsibility. These terms refer to court ordered relationships in which either one or both parents will have physical or legal custody, or both. Florida courts usually favor shared parental responsibility except in those cases where one of the parents is not of ‘sound mind’ or is unwilling to be involved in the children’s lives. When arguing a custody case, each parent must assess their own circumstances as well as the other parent’s, to determine and try to prove in court who is in the best position to care for the children.
- Child support payments. In cases in which one of the parents is granted sole custody, the court will most likely impose child support payment obligations on the other parent. Each party should determine the amounts needed monthly to cover for the children’s living expenses. Florida’s Child Support Enforcement Program is the state agency in charge of ensuring parents provide sufficient financial support for their children.
- Scheduling. If both parents will share custody, determining how the children’s time will be split between the two should be at the top of the list. The manner in which any rescheduling or alternative arrangements will be handled is also an important point to set forth in initial negotiations.
Let us assist you
A family law lawyer with extensive experience in child custody cases can help you navigate the ins and outs of the court proceedings advocating for your and your children’s best interests. Our skilled Fort Lauderdale child custody attorneys at the office of Joyce Julian, P.A. are available to assist you today.