IAML Fellow, Lawrence Katz of Florida, USA speaks at the IAML Hague Symposium in Buenos Aires, Argentina in September 2013 on the subject of International Relocations.
MIAMI CHILD CUSTODY ATTORNEY PROTECTING FAMILIES
Trusted counsel in emotional child custody matters
Child custody is often one of the most contentious issues in a divorce or paternity case. At The Law Offices of Lawrence S. Katz, P.A., we understand that child custody battles can be emotionally and mentally draining. You may be anxious about your children being away from you for extended periods and wonder about their well-being. When your children’s welfare is at stake, select a law firm with the experience to face any challenge. Since 1968, we have represented parties in intricate family law disputes in South Florida, throughout the United States and abroad. We can help you, too.
Child custody in Florida
In Florida, courts determine all matters relating to custody of children according to the best interests of the child and the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act. Absent a history of abuse or neglect, children should have frequent and continuing contact with both parents. Both parents should participate in and bear the responsibilities of child rearing following a divorce or dissolution of marriage.
What factors affect parenting plans and time-sharing?
Fathers are accorded the same consideration as mothers establishing a parenting plan with time-sharing, regardless of the age or sex of the child. When ordering a parenting and time-sharing plan for the child, the court’s primary consideration is the best interest of the child. To determine the best interest of the child, the court considers:
- The demonstrated capacity and dispostion 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.
- The anticipated division of parental responsibilities after the litigation, including the extent to which parental responsibilities will be delegated to third parties.
- The demonstrated capacity and disposition of each parent to determine, consider, and act upon the needs of the child as opposed to the needs to desires of the parent.
- The length of time the child has lived in astable, satisfactory environment and the desirability of maintaining continuity.
- 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.
- The moral fitness of the parents.
- The mental and physical health of the parents.
- The home, school, and community record of the child.
- The reasonable preference of the child, if the court deems the child to be of sufficient intelligence, understanding, and experience to express a preference.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- The demonstrated capacity and disposition of each parent to participate and be involved in the child’s school and extracurricular activities.
- The demonstrated capacity and disposition of each parent to maintain an environment for the child which is free from substance abuse.
- 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.
- The developmental stages and needs of the child and the demonstrated capacity and disposition of each parent to meet the child’s developmental needs.
- Any other factor that is relevant to the determination of a specific parenting plan, including the time-sharing schedule.
What is a parenting plan?
In 2008, Florida law changed significantly, and traditional notions of child custody and visitation were replaced with the concepts of parenting plans and time-sharing. A parenting plan is a plan that addresses all aspects of parents’ rights and responsibilities with respect to their children. Parenting plans apply to international and domestic matters alike.
Parenting plans may be established by agreement of the parents or by a judge. Plans established by the parents are subject to court approval to ensure that the plan is in the best interests of the children. Once a plan is approved by the court and incorporated in the final divorce judgment or paternity judgment, both parties must comply with the plan.
What is time-sharing?
One of the most important parts of a parenting plan is the portion setting out the terms of the parties’ time-sharing arrangement. The plan should clearly state where the children are going to live, how many overnights the children spend with each parent and holiday visitation.
What if my ex refuses to comply with our parenting plan?
A parent who fails to comply with the parenting plan may be subject to court fines or contempt. Parents may not withhold time-sharing (visitation) because of the failure to pay child support payments. Likewise, a parent may not stop paying child support because the other parent is withholding time-sharing (visitation).
Contact a Miami child custody attorney to schedule a meeting
The Law Offices of Lawrence S. Katz, P.A. understands the sensitive nature of child custody battles. We provide professional, compassionate representation from your first meeting with us until the end of your case. No matter what custody issues you face, we help you quickly reach the resolution that is best for your family. Contact us at 786-991-2629 or online to schedule a consultation. Se habla español.