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Under Florida law, all parenting and time-sharing decisions are based on what courts believe to be in the best interest of the child. While Florida courts favor parents sharing responsibilities for their children as much as possible following divorce, those decisions must take the child’s welfare and parents’ fitness into account.
Child custody is divided into two categories: time-sharing and parental responsibility. Both can be agreed upon by the parties and then accepted by the judge, or determined by the judge alone. Time-sharing refers to where the child will physically live. Parental responsibility involves the ability to make decisions regarding the child’s development, schooling, health, religion, and other important matters.
Because Florida family law encourages parents to share the rights and responsibilities of parenting after a divorce, the wording in the relevant statutes was changed in 2008: “physical custody” became known as “time-sharing,” and “legal custody” became known as “parental responsibility.” These terms reflect a greater emphasis on the importance of divorced parents sharing responsibility for raising their children. The changes also mean that neither parent begins a custody proceeding with a presumption of right to custody. Therefore, each parent will begin on equal footing in the eyes of the court.
In custody decisions, judges make determinations based on factors that include:
While the decisions affecting where your child will live and with whom ultimately rest with the court, it’s in your best interests to be represented by a skilled custody lawyer who will press your interests and protect your bonds with your child.
If you’re a divorcing parent of minor children in Florida, contact an experienced family law attorney as soon as possible to discuss your custody concerns. The Law Offices of Lawrence S. Katz, P.A. draws on extensive experience representing clients in time-sharing and parental responsibility matters. Call us at 305-670-8656 or contact us online to arrange a consultation at our Miami office.
For many years, Lawrence S. Katz has helped clients in Florida, throughout the United States and abroad. He has earned an excellent worldwide reputation for providing knowledgeable, quality representation in family law matters.