ORLANDO CUSTODY LAWYERS
"CUSTODY" AND "VISITATION" ARE NO LONGER USED
As of October 1, 2008, the Florida Supreme Court eliminated the old terminology usually associated with child custody such as "primary residential parent" and "visitation". The law now requires a Parenting Plan whereby the parties agree to a Time-Sharing Schedule with no titles as to primary parent or custody. This major change in the law eliminates the emotional aspects tied to the titles usually associated with the custodial parent and, instead, focuses on the actual contact schedule agreed upon between the parties or ordered by the Court. For the purposes of this website, the old terminology is used for informational purposes since most people are familiar with those terms.
WHAT DOES THE COURT LOOK AT WHEN DETERMINING CUSTODY?
There are many factors the Judge will look at when determining a contact schedule between the parents and the minor children. Talk to your Orlando Custody Attorney at
Marsh Family Law to see which factors apply to you. The following factors are listed in Florida Statute 61.13 which are required to be considered by the Judge when determining a Time-Sharing Schedule:
(a) 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.
(b) The anticipated division of parental responsibilities after the litigation, including the extent to which parental responsibilities will be delegated to third parties.
(c) 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.
(d) The length of time the child has lived in a stable, satisfactory environment and the desirability of maintaining continuity.
(e) 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.
(f) The moral fitness of the parents.
(g) The mental and physical health of the parents.
(h) The home, school, and community record of the child.
(i) The reasonable preference of the child, if the court deems the child to be of sufficient intelligence, understanding, and experience to express a preference.
(j) 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.
(k) 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.
(l) 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.
(m) 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.
(n) 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.
(o) 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.
(p) The demonstrated capacity and disposition of each parent to participate and be involved in the child's school and extracurricular activities.
(q) The demonstrated capacity and disposition of each parent to maintain an environment for the child which is free from substance abuse.
(r) 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.
(s) The developmental stages and needs of the child and the demonstrated capacity and disposition of each parent to meet the child's developmental needs.
(t) Any other factor that is relevant to the determination of a specific parenting plan, including the time-sharing schedule.
DOES THE JUDGE ORDER 50/50 CUSTODY NOW?
Since the change in the Florida Statute occurred in October, 2008, many people now assume that the Judge MUST order 50/50 custody of the minor children (also known as "rotating custody") This is false. The Court must specifically consider what is in the best interests of the minor children as well as the factors set forth in Florida Statute 61.13. There is no presumption for or against rotating custody in Florida and, in fact, the Courts have specifically held that the change in the Florida Statute does NOT mean that rotating custody must be ordered. Talk to your Orlando Visitation Lawyer at
Marsh Family Law to further discuss the options available to the Court when establishing a Time-Sharing Schedule in your case.