Welcome to the first post of many where I plan to talk about family law in Florida. I hope to have a mix of interesting news stories, as well as answers to questions I encounter daily. The most frequent topic that I encounter daily is in regards to custody. Back in 2008, Florida amended its statutes and eliminated the word custody. During a divorce or in a paternity action, when establishing what time Mom or Dad has with the kids, it is necessary for a parenting plan to be established, laying out the time sharing arrangement for each parent.
This change resulted in something even more important - most judges and courts are awarding 50/50 time sharing, unless the parties agree otherwise or there are factors not to provide for 50/50. Gone are the days of Dad (or sometimes Mom) having every other weekend and Wednesday over night. If it is feasible, a parenting plan is made that gives each parent as close to 50% of the time with the kids as possible.
The language was reworded to put less emphasis on a particular parent to have control, but to facilitate shared parental responsibility, as in even if the kids are with one parent the majority of the time, both parents can impact the important decisions in the children's lives. Of course, every scenario is different. There isn't a set rule that 50/50 be given, nor is it necessarily easy to get "sole custody." Determining a parenting plan that works best for the kids and will make the parents content is one of the most essential parts of a divorce. Contacting a Florida family law attorney can help in ensuring that you negotiating the best parenting plan possible. Don't be afraid that you will lose time with your kids -- the laws have evolved and it is presumed that both parents have a say and input in the day to day lives of the children.