Articles Posted in Timesharing

Child custody and time sharing battles in Florida divorces are always stressful situations for the people involved.  Jacksonville divorce lawyers and custody lawyers zealously represent clients who each want something different when it comes to custody or time sharing.  The judge hearing the case has to decide what is in the children’s best interest.  This is the standard that is always applied.  What the parties want, including the children, is not the controlling factor.  When the husband and wife are both fit parents and can provide a stable environment for children, difficult decisions have to be made.   So what factors will the judge consider in determining child custody and time sharing battles in Florida divorces?

man-woman-heart-5-1056041-mFlorida Statutes 61.13(3) lists several factors that judges can consider, but gives judges discretion to consider any facts that the judge deems relevant.  Click the link above to view the complete list and the full body of the statute.  Florida’s state policy is that each parent is afforded the chance to build a strong relationship with children.  The first factor on the list of things the judge is to consider is, “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.”  In view of the State policy and the importance of having both parents actively in children’s lives to help produce healthy, emotionally balanced children, it is no coincidence that this factor is listed first.  Other factors include the future division of parental responsibility, the reasonable preference of the children, school and community records of children, moral fitness of parents, and more.

For help with child custody and time sharing issues, contact the Law Office of David M. Goldman, PLLC today at (904) 685-1200.  Initial consultations are free.  Our experienced Jacksonville divorce lawyers can help you understand your rights as a parent and coach you through a stressful divorce.  Our attorneys have years of litigation experience and are prepared to fight for you when needed, but are also skilled in assisting you with uncontested divorces or collaborative divorce.  Schedule a consultation today.

Can children choose what parent to live with after a divorce?  The short answer is probably “no”.  Most child custody lawyers would agree that custody and visitation are probably the most highly contested issues between people when relationships don’t work and the couple has had children.  Whether there is a genuine belief by a parent that children will be better off with him or her, or whether a parent is being spiteful when requesting majority timesharing, one argument that comes up is that the children prefer to live with one parent over the other.

Section 61.13, Florida Statutes states that a child’s reasonable preference about what parent to live with may be considered; however, the child’s choice will not control the court’s decision.  The court will weigh and relevant factors and decide what is in the child’s best interest.  A child’s desire to live with the “fun parent” won’t simply be taken at face value.  A child’s preference doesn’t always come into the equation, but when the preference is at issue, a child’s age, maturity level, and so on will be taken into account.  In practice, the child’s preference is likely to have little bearing on the court’s decision without there being more objective evidence that shows that the child’s preference is in line with the child’s best interest.  There are many things that come into play when the child’s best interest is being decided.  Typically, giving a child continuity and stability will be high on the priority list.  Things like whether one parent is likely to encourage a loving and nurturing relationship between the children and the other parent is important too.

For more information on child custody, visitation, divorce, and family law issues, called the experienced family lawyers at the Law Office of David M. Goldman, PLLC today at (904) 685-1200 for a free initial consultation.

During the holidays, the stress level for many Florida families inevitably goes up. With the much of Florida still stuck in the 2009 recession, unemployment still very high and the foreclosure rate in and around Jacksonville still at record levels, when family problems creep into the picture, stress can go through the roof. Add a separation or dissolution of marriage to the picture and the situation can seem unbearable.

Competing parents can make this unseeingly unbearable situation far worse by fighting over sharing time with their children. But a wise parent, with their eye on the long term will add perspective to their thought process. How do you add that perspective? By remembering two things. First, just because the holidays do not seem like a joyous time right now, does not mean that your children feel the same way. Find ways to hide this stress from your children. Don’t make them associate the holidays with economic and marital stress.

Second, instead of fighting with the competing parent, why not talk things through? Most parents don’t want their children to go through the stress of a divorce and when both parents share that attitude, the stress of sharing time with their children decreases with the level of cooperation.

American Actress and Model Halle Berry has been engaged in an emblazoned custody battle with her former boyfriend Gabriel Aubry. Berry has asked that their child, four year old Nahla, be permitted to leave with Berry to live in France. The Los Angeles Court must determine that the move is in the best interest of the child to permit it. The same standard is used here in Florida to permit a moving parent to relocate more than 50 miles away from the other parent.

Proving “best interest of the child” is not always an easy standard. It typically involves a weighing of the pros and cons of moving or staying. In Berry’s case, she argues that France has stronger protection for Nahla from the great amount of media attention she would otherwise get here in the states. This sounds like a good argument. Surely, a great amount of media attention and privacy invasion is bad for a child.

Mr. Aubry argues that the real reason for the move is Berry following her new fiance, Oliver Martinez, whom is a french film actor. He cites the fact that she has had two earlier failed marriages which is evidence that this marriage too, is likely to fail.

kids.jpgAs a Jacksonville Family Law Attorney, I am often asked whether a child timesharing order can be modified after a divorce. In short, yes, parents can change their timesharing agreement. However, if the parents do not agree about the modification, the standard under Florida Law is often difficult to satisfy.

After a final decree establishing timesharing is filed with a Jacksonville court, parents may later agree to modify its terms. Although not required, it is advisable to obtain the court’s approval for the modification so that it may later be enforceable it needed. Generally, Jacksonville courts approve modification agreements unless it appears the modification is not in the best interests of the child.

If a parent wants to change an existing timesharing agreement and the other parent will not agree to the change, he or she must petition the court to modify it. Generally, a Jacksonville court will allow a modification if the parent asking for the change can show that there has been a “substantial change in circumstances.” Some examples include a geographic move or a change in lifestyle.

paternity.jpgAs a Jacksonville Family Law Lawyer, I often have cases where a mother and father are not married to one another but they have a child in common. In my experience many men falsely believe simply because their name is on the birth certificate that they are legally the fathers. In Florida this is simply not the case! There is more that is required for unwed fathers in Florida to gain legal rights over their children.

Under Florida law, until a Judge signs an Order which determines that an unwed man is the father of a child, then the child is NOT legally his. As such, the man has no legal rights to the child. That includes no rights for timesharing and no rights over major decisions in the child’s life. This means that if the child’s mother does not want to allow the alleged father to see the child, she is under no legal obligation to do so.

In order to be recognized as the legal father in Florida it is necessary to file what is called a Petition for Determination of Paternity. Paternity actions are brought before a court in order to assist a parent in acknowledging and protecting important time-sharing and child support rights and/or obligations.

custody.jpgTimesharing after a divorce is often the most highly contentious and stressful issue that can stem from a couple separating. Parents and courts alike are very concerned with the child(ren) maintaining a loving and healthy relationship with both parents. In order to maintain such a relationship many parents going through a divorce would like to see an order granting 50/50 timesharing.

However, as a Jacksonville Child Custody Attorney I am aware that the courts often discourage 50/50 timesharing arrangements. Why is this so? Well, many children young and old experience high stress levels and difficulty handling the disruptions that comes along with switching back and forth between mom and dad.

If you are a parent seeking divorce and worry how a timesharing schedule might end up in your case contact a Jacksonville Child Custody Attorney today for the information you may need in developing the best schedule for you and your child(ren).

Last year, the Florida House of Representatives unanimously passed a bill that would help protect the parental rights of mothers and fathers serving in the military. Unfortunately, time ran out before the state Senate could consider the bill, so it will have to be re-voted on. However, it seems likely that the bill will pass in the house and again move to the senate.

The bill attempts to solve some of the problems military parents face, such as visitation rights when the parent has to be away for a prolonged period of time. The bill allows the parent to ask the court to delegate parental rights to another one of the child’s family members, not limited to the other parent and including the child’s stepparent.

To illustrate, let’s say the father of a child has custody of the child over the summer, but the father will be away for several weekends and a full week during that time. Instead of simply sending the child back to her other parent, the child could, with the court’s permission, remain with her stepmother while the father is away. has posted an article titled, “Top Ten Ways to Make a Child Custody Exchange Go Smoothly.”

The article’s suggestions for making timesharing exchanges go smoothly are: (1) Follow your Parenting Plan, (2) Keep it Simple, (3) Arrive on Time, (4) Keep Everyone Updated, (5) Pick Up and Drop Off at School, (6) Neutral Locations for Exchanges, (7) When Exchanging at Home, be Respectful, (8) Communicate with Children, (9) Communicate with the Other Parent and (10) Change the Timesharing as Needed to Meet the Changing Needs of the Children.

As a Jacksonville Family Law Lawyer I recommend all parents that are splitting time with their children read this article. It is a nice refresher for parents as they start the new year.

whisper.jpgAs a Jacksonville Divorce Lawyer I am familiar with the many issues that surround custody disputes. I also know what Jacksonville Judges absolutely hate to see in child custody cases. One of the main things that divorcing parents in contested cases have a tendency to do is disparage the other parent. This is something that should be avoided at all costs.

Jacqueline Harounian speaks on this topic in her Huffington Post article titled “How To Lose Child Custody“. Harounian states, “A parent who is constantly denigrating the other parent, leaking anger, and negatively influencing the child’s relationship with the noncustodial parent will be reprimanded. In extreme cases, there will be allegations of parental alienation and interference with parenting time. Many judges will consider a change of custody if this type of interference is shown.Bottom line: if you want to show the Judge that you will promote the best interests of your child, then you need to show that you recognize the value of the child’s relationship with your ex, and will take the steps to encourage that relationship. Of course, when you are going through an adversarial proceeding with someone you don’t like very much, it can be very hard to put those feelings aside for the sake of your child. But that is exactly what you need to do if you want to prevail in your case.”

If you’re considering divorce and live in the Jacksonville area contact a Jacksonville Divorce Lawyer today to schedule a free consultation.

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