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How Does Florida Handle Child Custody?

As of 2008, Florida child custody laws changed dramatically to reflect changes in modern society. Child custody is no longer automatically awarded to the mother. Mothers and fathers are now both considered to share responsibility for the needs of their children. One thing that did not change is that Florida child custody laws and courts always put the best interests of the children first when making any decision about child custody and support.

Since it is increasingly common for both parents to work, both are also expected to contribute to child support payments. While child support and alimony payments used to be the responsibility of the father, today both parties can be required to contribute to the support of their child or children to the degree they are able. Florida statutes base these contributions based upon such factors as the earnings, health and life circumstances of each parent as well as the needs of the children for health insurance and child care.

Instead of designating one parent as the primary custodial parent and giving the other visitation rights, the state expects both parents to draw up a parenting plan that addresses the following kinds of issues:

  • Time-sharing – the weekly, vacation and holiday schedule for the child
  • Decision-making – how decisions about the education and religious upbringing of the child will be decided
  • Communication – when the child is with one parent, how the other can communicate with the child

If these issues cannot be decided through negotiations, they are resolved in family court by a judge who imposes a parenting plan on the couple. An attorney knowledgeable about child custody laws in Florida can help determine the best parenting plan for you.

The lawyers at Feldman & Schneiderman, P.L. have extensive knowledge of Florida child custody laws and can provide help with negotiations, mediation or litigation.