Top Ten Parenting Time Factors in Florida
Child custody is perhaps the most divisive emotional issue in a divorce. Most parents agree on broad principles, like children benefit from meaningful and consistent contact with both parents. But words like “meaningful” and “consistent” are extremely subjective. So, Florida law sets forth a number of parenting time factors.
Port St. Lucie divorce attorneys often use these factors as a basis for legal arguments in court. Additionally, unless an out-of-court settlement conforms with the factors, a judge is not likely to approve it.
Child’s Educational Background
Generally, when parents legally divorce, they have already been separated for several months. So, the children have a track record at their current school. If that track record is good, or at least mediocre, there is a presumption that this arrangement should continue. The other parent can rebut this presumption with evidence that another school would be better for some reason.
Some parents have the physical, mental, and emotional makeup to be good residential custodians. In other cases, that’s not true. Some parents are better suited to be nonresidential custodians with liberal visitation privileges.
Permanence of the Proposed Home
Typically, this factor refers to emotional permanence. Will people be coming and going? This factor is especially relevant if the parent has been dating during the separation period. Unnecessary emotional transitions are just one idea why dating during the separation period is usually a really bad idea.
Continuity for the Children
Generally, the devil you know is better than the devil you don’t know. It’s easier to address issues in the current parenting time division than it is to reinvent the wheel and start over. Additionally, most studies indicate that children need consistency and boundaries, whether they admit it or not.
Cerian children feel closer to certain parents at certain times. So, this factor often comes up in modification actions. If a child is distant from a parent for whatever reason, the parent-child relationship normally breaks down, at least to a significant extent.
This factor could involve emotional, physical, verbal, or other domestic violence. If the alleged violence occurred a long time ago or in a different family context, the incident might not be a dealbreaker. But if the event was recent or the children witnessed it, that’s a different story.
Ability to Co-Parent
In a nutshell, co-parenting means that both parents take an active role in the children’s lives. Sometimes, parents ask over-aggressive attorneys to handle their divorces. This strategy usually backfires. Many judges assume that if the parent refuses to compromise during court proceedings, this intransigence will be worse when direct court supervision ends.
Interest in the Children’s Activities
Frequently, divorce allows parents to turn over new leaves. But this area is an exception. If a parent cared little about attending athletic or other events during the marriage, it’s safe to assume this attitude will get worse after the parents divorce. Lack of interest in the children’s lives is not a good trait for a residential custodian.
Ability to Meet Children’s Developmental Needs
This factor is similar to the parental fitness factor discussed above. Not all parents have the ability or disposition to deal with certain developmental needs in certain children.
Future Division of Parental Responsibilities
What will happen after the judge signs the final decree? Most children spend some time in daycare or after-school care. But if a babysitter or nanny will spend about as much time with the children as the parent, that’s not a good situation.
Connect with a Dedicated Lawyer
Parenting time decisions often come down to the applicability of a number of factors. For a free consultation with an experienced family law attorney in Port St. Lucie, contact Eighmie Law Firm, P.A. Convenient payment plans are available.