If you live in the Jacksonville and/or Orange Park area of Florida and are contemplating filing for divorce and have minor children of the marriage there are actions that should be taken prior to filing for divorce that can greatly help you if and when a dispute over timesharing and parental responsibility arises. You may ask what exactly is timesharing and parental responsibility? In Florida visitation schedules are termed timesharing schedules and are defined in Florida Statute 61.046 as a timetable that must be included in the parenting plan that specifies the time, including overnights and holidays, that a minor child will spend with each parent. The time-sharing schedule shall be:
(a) Developed and agreed to by the parents of a minor child and approved by the court;or
(b) Established by the court if the parents cannot agree or if their agreed-upon schedule is not approved by the court.
Parental Responsibility on the other hand covers the parental rights of the parents. There are two types of Parental Responsibility in Florida: Shared and Sole. Florida Statute 61.046 defines Shared Parental Responsibility as a court-ordered relationship in which both parents retain full parental rights and responsibilities with respect to their child and in which both parents confer with each other so that major decisions affecting the welfare of the child will be determined jointly; and defines Sole Parental Responsibility as a court-ordered relationship in which one parent makes decisions regarding the minor child.
So what should you be doing to ensure you don’t end up with the short end of the stick in a custody battle? First and foremost get involved in your child’s education. It is very common for teachers, coaches and the like to testify in child custody proceedings. Thus, the more these teachers and coaches are familiar with you the better. Make sure you attend parent teacher conferences, plays, games, practices and even field trips. That way if a teacher or coach is required to testify in court they will be able to say you are involved in all aspects of your child’s life.
Not only are these actions beneficial to the growth and relationship with your child they can provide a Jacksonville and/or Orange Park judge with the perspective that you consider your time with your child and your child’s education as nothing but important. The judge will see you are actively involved in your child’s education and this can do nothing but help your case.
If you find yourself staring down the nose of the child custody barrel contact a Jacksonville Child Custody Lawyer today to schedule a free consultation. Night and weekend appointments are available.