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More than Attorneys, We are Counselors at Law.

Devoted to providing Orlando with excellent divorce law representation.
Divorce with Minor Children in Orlando

orlando divorce attorneys

Going through a divorce is an extremely stressful and difficult time for everyone involved. When children are a part of the process, special consideration must be given to the impact that the divorce process will have on them, both now and in the future. There have been many studies published about the effects that divorces have on children and the aspects of a divorce that cause those effects. These studies seem to have the common theme that the more contentious the divorce, the more prone the children are to suffer negative effects in their own lives. At the Dewitt Law Firm, we are sensitive to these issues and work hard to ensure that decisions are made that consider the interests of our clients and their children. Our Orlando attorneys work hard to settle child custody and/or parenting plan disputes, and to shield the child or children from future litigation and the negative effects of the divorce process. In cases where settlement is not possible, we employ various resources and strategies to help shield the child or children from the litigation, and to ensure that the Judge receives an accurate and full understanding of the family dynamic, the child or children’s needs, and their best interests.

 

A large portion of our practice is devoted to cases involving minor children, so we are very familiar with the applicable law and resources. If you are considering a divorce and have a minor child or children, it is important to be educated regarding all aspects of the divorce process, including issues related to timesharing (also commonly known as child custody or visitation), shared and sole parental responsibility (forms of parental decision making authority), child support, life insurance to secure child support, health insurance for the child or children, contribution to daycare costs, contribution to extracurricular activities, relocation issues, abuse, or any of the other issues that may arise in your case.

What is a Parenting Plan?

A parenting plan is the document that defines that parents’ rights and responsibilities when it comes to their children. A parenting plan must, at a minimum, describe in adequate detail how the parents will share and be responsible for the daily tasks associated with raising the minor child or children. It must specify time-sharing arrangements and designate who will be responsible for health care and health care decisions. Additionally, it must address school-related matters, including the address to be used for school-boundary determination and registration. It must also describe the methods and technologies that the parents will use to communicate with the child. The parenting plan is an intricate document for any divorce involving minor children. It is important to have an experienced divorce attorney by your side to assist with the developing your proposed parenting plan.

Is there a presumption of 50/50 timesharing?

No, in Florida there is no presumption of 50/50 timesharing. While the trial court wants each parent to spend as much time with their child or children as possible, there is no presumption that a child or children should spend more time with one parent. The legislature previously proposed implementing a 50/50 presumption, but it did not become law.

What factors does the court consider when determining a timesharing schedule?

Ultimately, the custody or timesharing schedule developed by the court must be based upon the best interests of the minor child or children. Florida statutes require the court to consider twenty factors when making a custody or timesharing determination. It is important that you and your divorce attorney carefully review and consider the factors when developing legal arguments to present to the court. The twenty factors that the court must consider are outlined below.

  1. The demonstrated capacity and disposition of each parent to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing parent-child relationship, to honor the time-sharing schedule, and to be reasonable when changes are required.
  2. The anticipated division of parental responsibilities after the litigation, including the extent to which parental responsibilities will be delegated to third parties.
  3. The demonstrated capacity and disposition of each parent to determine, consider, and act upon the needs of the child as opposed to the needs or desires of the parent.
  4. The length of time the child has lived in a stable, satisfactory environment and the desirability of maintaining continuity.
  5. The geographic viability of the parenting plan, with special attention paid to the needs of school-age children and the amount of time to be spent traveling to effectuate the parenting plan. This factor does not create a presumption for or against relocation of either parent with a child.
  6. The moral fitness of the parents.
  7. The mental and physical health of the parents.
  8. The home, school, and community record of the child.
  9. The reasonable preference of the child, if the court deems the child to be of sufficient intelligence, understanding, and experience to express a preference.
  10. The demonstrated knowledge, capacity, and disposition of each parent to be informed of the circumstances of the minor child, including, but not limited to, the child’s friends, teachers, medical care providers, daily activities, and favorite things.
  11. The demonstrated capacity and disposition of each parent to provide a consistent routine for the child, such as discipline, and daily schedules for homework, meals, and bedtime.
  12. The demonstrated capacity of each parent to communicate with and keep the other parent informed of issues and activities regarding the minor child, and the willingness of each parent to adopt a unified front on all major issues when dealing with the child.
  13. Evidence of domestic violence, sexual violence, child abuse, child abandonment, or child neglect, regardless of whether a prior or pending action relating to those issues has been brought. If the court accepts evidence of prior or pending actions regarding domestic violence, sexual violence, child abuse, child abandonment, or child neglect, the court must specifically acknowledge in writing that such evidence was considered when evaluating the best interests of the child.
  14. Evidence that either parent has knowingly provided false information to the court regarding any prior or pending action regarding domestic violence, sexual violence, child abuse, child abandonment, or child neglect.
  15. The particular parenting tasks customarily performed by each parent and the division of parental responsibilities before the institution of litigation and during the pending litigation, including the extent to which parenting responsibilities were undertaken by third parties.
  16. The demonstrated capacity and disposition of each parent to participate and be involved in the child’s school and extracurricular activities.
  17. The demonstrated capacity and disposition of each parent to maintain an environment for the child which is free from substance abuse.
  18. The capacity and disposition of each parent to protect the child from the ongoing litigation as demonstrated by not discussing the litigation with the child, not sharing documents or electronic media related to the litigation with the child, and refraining from disparaging comments about the other parent to the child.
  19. The developmental stages and needs of the child and the demonstrated capacity and disposition of each parent to meet the child’s developmental needs.
  20. Any other factor that is relevant to the determination of a specific parenting plan, including the time-sharing schedule.

 

While there are many family law attorneys in Orlando, we would be honored to assist you through this difficult time. We handle these types of cases on a daily basis and are extraordinarily familiar with the intricacies they involve. If you would like to discuss your matter further, please do not hesitate to call our office and schedule a consultation, so that we may further evaluate your individual situation.