In Florida, we no longer use the terms “visitation” or “primary residential parent”. The language of our laws has changed to encourage sharing our children. Shared Parental Responsibility is the norm. That is when both parents continue to be involved in major decisions affecting minor children. Sole Parental Responsibility is reserved for serious cases involving physical abuse, substance abuse, abandonment or severe neglect of minor children.
There are currently no presumptions regarding timesharing. Neither parent, man nor woman, is to have an advantage regarding timesharing of minor children, regardless of the ages of the children. The court makes decisions regarding timesharing considering the best interest of the children, not the best interest of the parents or the convenience of the parents.
The courts will consider a number of factors when determining an appropriate timesharing schedule for children. Some of these factors include: who was the primary caregiver for the children before the divorce was filed, how will the divorce change the parental duties, will parental responsibilities be delegated to third parties, who has the greater ability to provide a stable home environment, who puts the children before themselves, who is the parent more likely to follow a timesharing schedule?
If work schedules require delegation of caretaking of children to third parties, should there be a right of first refusal where the other parent is given the opportunity to care for the children before a third party is engaged?
What is your obligation to take the children to extra curricular activities and how do those expenses get factored into a final judgment?
All of these questions merit a candid discussion with your attorney because all of these things should be considered now. It is important to hire an attorney with the experience to anticipate what issues might arise years down the road, especially if your children are very young at the time of divorce.
At Bylund Law, we understand these concerns and have the experience necessary to look out for your best interests and the best interests of your children.