The mere thought of a Child Custody fight can evoke nightmares, not only for parents but for their children as well. First of all, the process of getting divorced can cause a great deal of pain, stress and frustration within the home. This stress and anxiety has a significant impact on adults and a profound impact on your children. Disputes over where the children are going to spend their time adds to that stress for both parents and their children.
Imagine the stress that results from watching the two people who are the center of your universe in conflict or outright warfare. Unfortunately, its not much better for the parents, their minds race with thoughts of how they and their children are handling the situation.
Ultimately, if the parties cannot agree on a Parenting Plan and Time-Sharing Schedule, then the Court will decide where the children spend time with each parent. No one likes the idea of a Judge telling them when they can and when they cannot see their children. When parents are forced to divide their child’s time between two spaces, living arrangements can become strained and aggravated.
These circumstances make Child Custody one of the most challenging and difficult aspects of a divorce case. When two parents, who both love their children more than anything else, must work through or litigate where their children will live with most of the time, it can be a terrifying, frustrating and difficult process.
I have survived such a custody fight. Williams v. Williams, Circuit Court of Hillsborough County, 1990. I understand what you are going through, what you are feeling and what you want for you and your children.
CHILD CUSTODY IS NOW PARENTING PLANS AND TIME SHARING
In an effort to reduce parental conflict, both now and in the future, the state of Florida has done away with the concepts of “custody” and “primary residential care.” Both of the terms connoted that one parent was superior to the other.
The focus these days in on Shared Parental Responsibility and it is now the policy of Florida that both parents should have an ongoing and regular relationship with their children post-divorce.
In making decisions about the children, the Court will always consider the best interest of the children and the Court has a great many factors it must consider in determining what is in the best interest of the children. Most important of these factors is which parent will do the most to insure that the other parent has a good relationship with the children. Other factors involve the historical primary care giver, the stability of the parties, their economic circumstances and how they are going to be able to handle their child rearing responsibilities post-divorce.
During your case we will develop our proposed Parenting Plan, which is the document that describes how the parties are going to co-parent the children after their divorce is over. The primary component to the Parenting Plan is the Time-Sharing schedule, which determines when the children will be with each parent. The Time-Sharing schedule addresses the school year schedule, the summer schedule and the holiday’s schedule. Obviously, this schedule is vitally important to both parents. We work with our clients to develop a strategy to convince the Court that our client should have the time-sharing schedule that they seek while still keep focused on the best interest of the children.
The Parenting Plan also addresses which school the child will attend, how decisions will be made about the child’s education, health, religious training and other important aspects of the children’s lives. Extra-curricular activities and the cost of medical insurance, and uninsured medical expenses are addressed as well. Virtually every aspect of the children’s lives, including who gets to claim the children as a tax deduction is determined by the Parenting Plan.
Prior to any settlement negotiations, we make sure our client is aware of all of the options available in a Parenting Plan and Time-Sharing schedule so that they can make informed decisions about the Parenting Plan they are attempting to negotiate and so that they understand that the best interest of the children is of paramount importance.
Many parents get caught up in what “they want” and what “they need” and forget that the Court only is concerned with what is in the best interest of the minor child. Having been through a custody fight, and having seen the way Judges make these decisions, gives me the ability to structure the right facts, evidence and testimony to give you the best possible chance to prevail in such a legal battle.
Additionally, when it comes to Negotiated Settlements, our expert in marital and family law focuses on creative and alternative methods of creating a Child Custody arrangement that is workable, fair and in the “Best Interest of the Minor Children.”
Time-Sharing – What’s Best For My Children?
The days of the every other weekend amateur Dad are over. Courts are looking for ways to ensure that both parents are as involved in their children’s lives as possible. With this tendency in mind, we approach the issue of time-sharing from our client’s perspective.
Gary Williams has been through a divorce and he has been a single parent and understands that a cut-and-dried system of time-sharing may not be what’s best for you or your children. He will work with you, creatively, to determine the best way to promote ongoing and regular contact for both parents that actually works for them and the kids in the real world.
If you’re going through a divorce and are in need of an Board Certified Advocate who will work with your child’s best interest, call Gary Williams at The Law Firm for Family Law today. (727) 531-8737