Child Custody Attorneys and Time Sharing Lawyers in Hollywood, Florida
If you are getting divorced in Hollywood, Florida, child custody decisions will be the most important choices you’ll have to make during your divorce. The Law Offices of Jodie Bassichis, P.A. in Hollywood, Florida work closely with couples to help them find the child custody arrangement that is right for them. Every family is unique. While some families will benefit from joint custody arrangements, others are better off with sole custody parenting plans, known in the Florida courts as time-sharing parenting plans. Our firm understands that this might be one of the most stressful times in your life. The Law Offices of Jodie Bassichis, P.A. works closely with couples to understand their goals, their children’s needs, and help them understand their rights.
What Child Custody Arrangements are Available?
There are two traditional types of custody that parents must consider when getting divorced: sole custody and physical custody. In recent years, Florida has changed the terminology. Instead of referring to legal custody as “legal custody” the courts may refer to a concept known as “parental responsibility.” Instead of referring to physical custody, the courts will use the term “time sharing.” How do these custody types differ and how do they impact your divorce? Here is a breakdown:
Legal Custody or “parental responsibility” refers to a parent’s right to make decisions about their children’s schooling, activities, medical care, and religion. As a general rule, the courts favor giving both parents legal custody of their children. In other words, the courts favor both parents having a shared parental responsibility of the children. Of course, divorcing parents might find that they don’t always agree on how their children should be schooled, what activities they should enjoy, how medical treatment should be handled, and what kind of religious instruction, if any, the child will have. This is where a carefully-formed parenting plan comes in. More on that below.
Physical Custody is the term with which most parents are familiar when they think about where their children will reside after divorce. Yet, Florida has changed the language and you’ll likely hear the courts discuss “time sharing” and “parental responsibility.” While parents may choose to have the children live predominantly with one parent, the courts generally call this arrangement “time sharing” because the courts favor parenting plan arrangements that give both parents time with their children. Research has shown that children are psychologically better adjusted when they are able to maintain a stable and healthy relationship with both parents. In order to assist parents when making decisions about where their children will live, the courts have asked parents to consider their custody arrangements in terms of sharing time with their children rather than in light of arrangements where one parent has sole custody and the other parent has “visitation.”
Time Sharing vs. Shared Custody. With shared custody, the children live with both parents. How this is arranged differs from family to family. Some parents divide their time with their children between two distinct households. Some parents keep the marital home and the parents switch time living in the home, and may each have their own separate apartments. Other parents may even share the marital home, with certain boundaries set, and continue to share custody of their children as they did in marriage. What works for each family in a shared custody arrangement will depend on how far apart you plan to live from your ex, your relationship with your ex, and how well you and your ex get along. Under a more traditional time-sharing arrangement, the child may still reside predominantly with one parent, and a schedule of time spent with the other parent will be outlined in the parenting plan.
In many cases, parents reach child custody agreements outside of court. Bringing a child custody matter to a judge can be challenging because the judge might make a decision that neither parent wants and both parents must abide by. For this reason, many divorcing couples seek the assistance of a child custody lawyer or mediator to help them draft a plan before they go to court.
Finally, it is important to consider that regardless of whether you share custody or have sole custody, the courts generally favor an arrangement where children can maintain a relationship with both parents. However, there are situations where it may be necessary to limit the contact one parent has with a child. If your ex was abusive or violent, you may want to seek the help of a qualified child custody lawyer to help you protect your child and ensure your child custody arrangements consider your children’s safety.
With so many options available for child custody, it can be tough to know what is right for you. The Law Offices of Jodie Bassichis, P.A. can take the time to walk you through the pros and cons of each situation. Our firm can then help you address potential questions, concerns, and issues that can arise with the arrangement you and your ex make.
Time Sharing Attorney in Hollywood, Florida
Florida’s laws regarding child custody have changed in recent years. These changes have an impact on the philosophy of how custody arrangements are made and approved by the courts, though they may not always have an impact on the actual parenting plan itself in practice. In the past, both parents would usually sit down, decide where the child would reside, and the other parent would get visitation rights to the child. However, as culture has changed, the idea that the child will reside solely with one parent has evolved as well. Florida courts don’t award custody to one parent. Instead, the courts will approve a time-sharing plan you set up with your ex. Your child may still reside mainly with one parent, or you and your ex will try to split the time your child spends with each parent more evenly. The decision you make is entirely up to you. However, the courts will want to see that your time-sharing plan ensures that the children get time with each parent.
The courts will want to see a time-sharing plan that is in the best interests of the child. When deciding on a time-sharing schedule, you’ll need to consider your child’s needs regarding school, after school activities, as well as medical, social, and other needs. If both parents cannot decide on a time-sharing plan that works outside of court, they can take their case to court. The judge will then make a decision based on the best interests of the child. These interests will take into account:
The ability of each parent to honor the time-sharing schedule and ensure that the child enjoys a continued relationship with both parents.
The capacity of each parent in terms of health, resources, and time.
The need for the child to enjoy a stable environment.
Geographic considerations—how long does it take for the child to move from one household to the other.
The children’s preference.
Evidence of abuse or domestic violence will be considered when making a time-sharing plan. Supervised time-sharing might be considered in certain circumstances.
The customary caretaking tasks each parent performed will also be considered when making time-sharing decisions. The courts tend to look for arrangements that favor consistency and the least amount of disruption to the child’s life.
If you are in the process of putting together a time-sharing plan with your ex, consider reaching out to the Law Offices of Jodie Bassichis, P.A. in Hollywood, Florida. If the idea of time-sharing sounds foreign, we can help. At the end of the day, our firm can help you and your ex find a parenting arrangement that is best for your family.
Take First Step…
Click Here To Schedule A Free Consultation >>
Designing a Parenting Plan That Works in Hollywood, Florida
If you are getting divorced in Florida and have children, the courts will require you and your ex to draft a parenting plan. This is a document that outlines each parent’s responsibility, custody, visitation, and how major decisions must be made. According to the Florida Courts, the parenting plan must include the following:
A schedule outlining when the child will reside or visit each parent and arrangements for changing times in the schedule.
Clear outline stipulating which parent will be responsible for decisions regarding schooling, activities, religion, and medical decisions.
If both parents are responsible for making these decisions, the parenting plan should specify how disagreements will be handled.
Arrangements should be made for responsibilities both parents will have regarding upbringing and care for the children.
Technologies and methods of communication, and how children will be transported to each parent’s house during exchanges.
These are just the most basic things that must be covered in a parenting plan. A quality parenting plan will be detailed enough to prevent conflict due to ambiguity, but flexible enough to accommodate the changing needs of a growing child or family. For example, a schedule that works for an infant, might not make sense for a teenager. When parents are making child custody arrangements, considering how holidays will be spent and how the family will accommodate the needs of the children as they get older is important. Having a qualified child custody lawyer by your side, like the Law Offices of Jodie Bassichis, P.A. can make a big difference when it comes to finalizing your divorce and reaching a decision that is in the best interests of your children.
A Child Custody Attorney in Hollywood, Florida Can Help
Child custody decisions can be very difficult to change once they have been finalized. This is one aspect of your divorce that you simply must get right the first time. Your parenting plan will have a major impact on your family life and children for years to come. When it comes to important decisions, it is wise to seek qualified counsel. The Law Offices of Jodie Bassichis, P.A. is a child custody lawyer in Hollywood, Florida who both understands the challenges of reaching a child custody arrangement and also the law. Our firm can help you ask the tough questions so that your parenting plan works long into the future. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help.