Child Custody Attorney in Jacksonville, FL

As with most issues concerning our children, timesharing in a divorce can be very difficult to work out. We all love our children and want to spend as much time with them as possible. In the eyes of the court, children are the most important consideration the court has to deal with and the court wants to establish a parenting plan that involves custody and timesharing that is in the best interest of your child.
It is the public policy of Florida that each child has frequent and continuing contact with both parents after the parents separate or the marriage is dissolved and to encourage parents to share the rights and responsibilities and joys of child-rearing.
Timesharing is based on the best interest of your children and it is important that your opinion is heard in developing the timesharing plan.

Child Custody in Now Called Timesharing

The Florida Statute no longer refers to a parent as having custody of a child, but rather addresses custody in terms of timesharing. A parenting plan will be developed that will designate each parent’s role in the child’s education, health care and extracurricular activities. Additionally, the parenting plan will establish the time each parent spends with the child on a day-in-day-out basis and includes holidays and summer vacation. The parenting plan can be developed by the parents, the parents with the help of their attorneys or with the assistance of a mental health professional; however, the parenting plan must be accepted by the court. If the parents are unable to develop a parenting plan, the judge will develop the parenting plan at trial. Regardless of how the parenting plan is developed, it will be based on the child’s best interest using the following factors:

(a) 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.

(b) The anticipated division of parental responsibilities after the litigation, including the extent to which parental responsibilities will be delegated to third parties.

(c) 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.

(d) The length of time the child has lived in a stable, satisfactory environment and the desirability of maintaining continuity.

(e) 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.

(f) The moral fitness of the parents.

(g) The mental and physical health of the parents.

(h) The home, school, and community record of the child.

(i) The reasonable preference of the child, if the court deems the child to be of sufficient intelligence, understanding, and experience to express a preference.

(j) 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.

(k) 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.

(l) 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.

(m) 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.

(n) 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.

(o) 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.

(p) The demonstrated capacity and disposition of each parent to participate and be involved in the child’s school and extracurricular activities.

(q) The demonstrated capacity and disposition of each parent to maintain an environment for the child which is free from substance abuse.

(r) 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.

(s) The developmental stages and needs of the child and the demonstrated capacity and disposition of each parent to meet the child’s developmental needs.

(t) Any other factor that is relevant to the determination of a specific parenting plan, including the time-sharing schedule.

We understand that the development of a parenting plan can be an emotional and sometimes mentally brutal part of your divorce case. Remember, your divorcing your spouse and not your child. Having to give up time with your child is hard and we understand that all too well. At the end of the day we all want what is best for our children and we believe that it is adequate time with both parents. It is our job to ensure that both you and your child benefit from the timesharing plan. If you are concerned about timesharing with your child, or any other family law related matter, call the Law Office of James T. Keenan at 904-359-9060 where your case will be handled professionally, aggressively and with care. We get results.
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