Determining which parent has the right to make important decisions on behalf of your child and with which parent a child will reside – which can include both parents on a time-sharing plan – are some of the most important legal challenges you and your family will ever face. Florida law approaches the issues of determining parental responsibility and time-sharing very seriously, and it is important that you as a parent are able to effectively represent the interests of both you and your child in reaching a parental responsibility and time-sharing custody agreement that will be approved and enforced by the Florida courts. At The Law Offices of Ira M. Marcus, P.A. in Miami, we help protect the rights of parents and children in reaching fair child custody agreements and enforcing their rights in the Florida family law courts.
Parental Responsibility and Time Sharing
Florida courts use different terminology than many other states with regard to child custody. Instead of using traditional child custody rules, Florida law makes family law determinations regarding children based on two primary issues:
- Parental Responsibility: This is the legal determination of which parent has the right to make important decisions on behalf of the child, such as where the child will go to school, what religious organizations they will attend, what medical procedures and attention the child will receive, whether the child may travel out of state, and so on. Courts can award parental responsibility to one or both parents. If both parents have parental responsibility, one might have “ultimate responsibility” or they may share duties equally through “parallel parenting.”
- Time-Sharing: This is the determination of where the child will actually reside, and is often called “physical custody” in other states. Parents can work together to create a time-sharing plan which details a weekly schedule of where the child will stay (e.g. Monday through Friday with the father, and Saturday and Sunday with the mother) as well as how the parents will be allowed to communicate with the child or visit with the child, among other things. A time-sharing plan might include the child spending part of the week with both parents, or staying with one parent permanently while the other parent has the right to visit at certain times.
Reaching a Beneficial Parental Responsibility and Time-Sharing Agreement
Courts want parents to reach parental responsibility and time-sharing agreements on their own if at all possible, and will approve those plans as enforceable if they are in the best interests of the child. If the parents cannot reach an agreement with the assistance of their attorneys, the courts will create its own agreement on the best interests of the child, which include 20 factors listed under Florida law, including:
- The ability of each parent to provide for the child
- The moral fitness of the parents
- The mental and physical health of the parents
- The preference of the child
- The willingness and capacity of each parent to provide for the child
At The Law Offices of Ira M. Marcus, P.A. in Miami, we will work with you to create a parenting responsibility and time-sharing plan that ensures that your rights as a parent are honored and that your child’s best interests are served. We will negotiate with the other parent and his or her counsel to protect your interests and take all necessary steps to have the agreement approved by the courts, which can include petitioning the court for a favorable agreement if the other party is unwilling to reach a fair agreement.
At The Law Offices of Ira M. Marcus, P.A., we know your relationship with your children is one of the most important aspects of your life. You want the best for them, but when you and your children’s other parent are not a couple, determining your ability to be a part of their lives – both in terms of your living arrangement and your ability to make important decisions on their behalf – becomes a matter of Florida law, and the Courts and other attorneys get involved. To make sure the rights of you and your children are protected, you need a trusted attorney on your side.
Child custody decisions are based on the court’s determination of the best interests of child. We will work to protect your relationship by making your best arguments in negotiation and at trial.
Florida law provides guidelines on how much support must be paid based on several factors. We will make sure that your financial interests and needs are fairly presented in all matters.
How We Can Help In Your Matter
Florida law regarding child custody and support can be confusing, and judges have significant discretion. But help is available. At The Law Offices of Ira M. Marcus, P.A., we will guide you in the following area of family law::
Parenting Plans / Time-Sharing
Child Support Payments
Modification of Support / Custody
You are Not Alone in This
Many parents attempt to go it alone when it comes to child custody and support matters, but this approach can have disastrous consequences. Custody and support determinations generally stay in place until a child reaches age 18 – although either party may petition for modification – meaning the decisions that a judge makes can have an enormous financial and relational impact for years.
Because Florida law is complex, it is in your interest to work with a knowledgeable family law attorney. The Law Offices of Ira M. Marcus, P.A. is here to help you in any way we can.