When you are no longer in a romantic relationship with the other parent of your children, the two of you have to find a way to share parenting time and other responsibilities. Florida family laws refer to your decisions about splitting your time with your children as your time-sharing arrangements.
For many divorcing couples and those breaking up despite sharing children, those time-sharing terms will be one of the most difficult matters to resolve at the end of their relationship. Parents often desperately want to preserve their bond with their children, but they may simultaneously resent their ex for having the same desire or impulse.
When parents won’t work with one another or can’t seem to agree on specific terms, they may need to go to the family courts to litigate the most important terms for sharing parental responsibilities. What determines how a Florida family law judge divides your parenting time?
The focus is always on what the children need
Florida law is very clear. Judges should always prioritize the best interests of the children in the family when making decisions about litigated custody matters. There is a presumption that applies in most cases that it would be better for the children to have consistent and frequent contact with both parents.
After all, even someone who was a terrible and unfaithful partner can still be a dedicated and loving parent. Children coping with the stress of a divorce need all of the emotional and social support they can get. When couples have to litigate custody matters, judges make decisions based on their interpretation of family circumstances.
They will usually try to preserve parenting time for both adults. However, in scenarios where one parent has evidence supporting their claims that the other could present a risk of harm or neglect to the children, a judge could limit one parent’s time with the children. Sometimes, instead of a more even split, the result of custody litigation is that one parent has far more time with the children than the other, who may only have visitation access instead of nearly even time-sharing rights.
How this information helps your case
When you understand that sole custody rulings are uncommon and that judges will look at your behavior and your intention as well as the practical details of your marriage, it will be easier for you to develop a workable strategy as you prepare for family court.
If you hope to secure more parenting time than your ex, you can use your understanding of time-sharing litigation in Florida to plan a more successful approach. Understanding how judges resolve time-sharing disputes can help those hoping to secure as much time with their children as possible in an upcoming divorce.