Child custody and timesharing can be among the most complicated issues during divorce. Divorced parents, split couples, and sometimes grandparents face the issue of child custody. Many people assume that only mothers can get child custody, but this is not true. Neither it true that the younger a child is, the more likely that the mother will get custody and majority timesharing. Both of the parents and/or guardians need to be able to work towards child custody. In the end, child custody is all about what is best for the child or children. Whether a couple agrees on custody and timesharing issues or decides to settle the matter in court, it is better to have a complete overview of all important information when dealing with the child-focused aspects of divorce.
“Custody” in Florida is more typically called “parental responsibility.” There are different types of parental responsibility, including:
- Shared parental responsibility: This is the most common form of custody. Under this arrangement, each parent has an equal say in the major decisions in the child’s life, such as health care needs, education and religious upbringing. Day-to-day decisions are made by the parent with whom the child is staying at the time. Both parents have the right to participate equally in determining what is in the children’s best interests.
- Ultimate decision-making authority: In some cases of shared parental responsibility, there may be a particular issue, such as religious education, that is assigned to only one parent. When ultimate decision-making authority is given to one parent, the parties should consult regardless, but the final decision rests with the parent given ultimate decision-making authority. This is not commonly done. There must be compelling reasons why one party should have final say over the other on an issue involving raising the children.
- Rotating custody: In this arrangement, the children don’t just spend an equal amount of time with each parent, but they are away from the other parent for an extended period of time, such as a week or more at a time. Florida law recognizes equal timesharing, but disfavors rotating custody.
- Sole legal custody: This is the least likely custodial arrangement since it gives one parent far more rights to the children than the other parent. When there is physical abuse of a parent or the children, drug or alcohol use by one of the parents, diagnosed and readily apparent mental instability, sole legal custody is much more likely to be granted. The parent who gets sole legal custody is then responsible to make all or almost all of the decisions on behalf of the children.
If you’re fighting for your role in your children’s lives, you may need the help of an experienced Boca divorce attorney. A lawyer for child custody can help you understand your best approaches to attain custody. An experienced, knowledgeable, and compassionate attorney can assist with your needs pertaining to child custody. Apart from child custody, a family law attorney can help you with matters like visitation, parenting plans, child support, and alimony.