Who gets to have the kids?
When determining who the child will stay with, Florida Courts will always make the decision based on what is in the child’s best interest. Florida Courts will usually come up with a solution that keeps both parents involved in the child’s life. While many parents may wish to have sole custody, this is somewhat rare because it is the court’s policy to consider options where both parents are involved first. Our Tampa family lawyers will assist you and your children by making sure you get as much time as possible with your kids.
During the court’s analysis, it will consider the following factors pursuant to Florida Statute Section 61.13:
- The demonstrated capacity and disposition of each parent to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing parent-child relationship, to honor the time-sharing schedule, and to be reasonable when changes are required.
- The anticipated division of parental responsibilities after the litigation, including the extent to which parental responsibilities will be delegated to third parties.
- The demonstrated capacity and disposition of each parent to determine, consider, and act upon the needs of the child as opposed to the needs or desires of the parent.
- The length of time the child has lived in a stable, satisfactory environment and the desirability of maintaining continuity.
- The geographic viability of the parenting plan, with special attention paid to the needs of school-age children and the amount of time to be spent traveling to effectuate the parenting plan. This factor does not create a presumption for or against relocation of either parent with a child.
- The moral fitness of the parents.
- The mental and physical health of the parents.
- The home, school, and community record of the child.
- The reasonable preference of the child, if the court deems the child to be of sufficient intelligence, understanding, and experience to express a preference.
- The demonstrated knowledge, capacity, and disposition of each parent to be informed of the circumstances of the minor child, including, but not limited to, the child’s friends, teachers, medical care providers, daily activities, and favorite things.
- The demonstrated capacity and disposition of each parent to provide a consistent routine for the child, such as discipline, and daily schedules for homework, meals, and bedtime.
- The demonstrated capacity of each parent to communicate with and keep the other parent informed of issues and activities regarding the minor child, and the willingness of each parent to adopt a unified front on all major issues when dealing with the child.
- Evidence of domestic violence, sexual violence, child abuse, child abandonment, or child neglect, regardless of whether a prior or pending action relating to those issues has been brought. If the court accepts evidence of prior or pending actions regarding domestic violence, sexual violence, child abuse, child abandonment, or child neglect, the court must specifically acknowledge in writing that such evidence was considered when evaluating the best interests of the child.
- Evidence that either parent has knowingly provided false information to the court regarding any prior or pending action regarding domestic violence, sexual violence, child abuse, child abandonment, or child neglect.
- The particular parenting tasks customarily performed by each parent and the division of parental responsibilities before the institution of litigation and during the pending litigation, including the extent to which parenting responsibilities were undertaken by third parties.
- The demonstrated capacity and disposition of each parent to participate and be involved in the child’s school and extracurricular activities.
- The demonstrated capacity and disposition of each parent to maintain an environment for the child which is free from substance abuse.
- The capacity and disposition of each parent to protect the child from the ongoing litigation as demonstrated by not discussing the litigation with the child, not sharing documents or electronic media related to the litigation with the child, and refraining from disparaging comments about the other parent to the child.
- The developmental stages and needs of the child and the demonstrated capacity and disposition of each parent to meet the child’s developmental needs.
- Any other factor that is relevant to the determination of a specific parenting plan, including the time-sharing schedule.
I want to see my kids more
Our Family attorney in Tampa handles petitions to modify time sharing arrangements. These cases require the court to consider the same factors listed above, but the party seeking modification must allege and prove some sort of significant change in circumstances to get the court to modify the prior order.
These cases often arise out of the following situations:
- One parent moving away from the other parent
- One parent beginning to date again
- One parent having another child
- The financial situation of the parties changing dramatically
- One parent is unable to comply with the current arrangement
The court will consider specific factors set out in Florida law to determine the time sharing arrangement. We work on focusing and directing our client’s evidence and arguments into these specific statutory factors.
Our attorneys are experienced in representing our clients for family law in Tampa Florida. If you need representation in your family law case, contact our firm today.