Child custody and visitation are big issues in many divorces. Florida now refers to visitation as time-sharing, which represents the importance the family law system places on the relationships children have with their parents, including when their parents are not married or are divorced. There can be many aspects to child custody concerns such as paternity, visitation, modifications and relocation.
Florida no longer uses terminology associated with child custody including primary and residential parent. The changes are intended to allow families to create more creative and flexible approaches to their concerns related to the parenting plan based on the best interests of the children.
Typically, couples are required to engage in mediation before going to court to resolve divorce-related issues. The divorcing couple is encouraged to work out divorce-related issues, such as a parenting plan, together than provides for the best interests and needs of the children.
The best interests of the child is the guiding principle used by the family law system to determine time sharing and visitation issues. It is helpful for parents to remain focused on this guiding principle as well while negotiating and resolving important divorce-related issues such as physical and legal custody of the children following divorce. The family law process provides options to help families resolve concerns they may have in a way that is best for their families and achieves outcomes that are in the best interests of the children.
The more divorcing parents are familiar with how parenting plans are developed, the smoother the process can be which is in the best interests of everyone involved, including the children. Divorcing couples should understand and always be aware of family law resources available to help them through their divorce process.