Timesharing & Parenting Plans Attorneys Gainesville, FL

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Time-Sharing & Parenting Plans

Will the time-sharing agreement we already have need to be modified during our divorce?

Not necessarily; however, the current time-sharing arrangement should be mutually agreed upon by the parties through a written parenting plan. Once the parenting plan is agreed upon by you and your spouse, the court will then likely ratify it if it is in the best interests of your minor child. If the parties do not agree to a parenting plan, the court will create one for the parties during litigation.

What is the difference between an agreed upon parenting plan and a court created parenting plan?

If you are going through a dissolution of marriage and you have a minor child from your marriage, you will be required to submit your proposed parenting plan to the court. Parenting plans govern parental responsibility for your child, a time-sharing schedule, and other matters such as your child’s education, extracurricular activities, and communication with each parent.

The court will establish a parenting plan for you if you and your spouse are unable to reach an agreement or if you and your spouse’s agreement is not in the best interests of your minor child. This may lead to an unfavorable result for both you and your spouse. Thus, it is generally in the best interest of each party to have a competent family law attorney negotiate a parenting plan that is best for everyone.

If my spouse and I do not agree on a parenting plan, what factors does the court consider to establish a parenting plan?

Courts render their decisions about parenting plans and time-sharing schedules based on the best interests of the child. These factors include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • 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.

  • 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 or desires of the parent.

  • The length of time the child has lived in a stable, satisfactory environment and the desirability of maintaining continuity.

  • The geographic viability of the parenting plan, with special attention paid to the needs of a school-age child and the amount of time to be spent traveling to effectuate the parenting plan.

  • The moral fitness and mental and physical health of the parents.

  • 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 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.

  • Evidence of domestic violence, sexual violence, child abuse, child abandonment, or child neglect.

  • The demonstrated capacity and disposition of each parent to participate and be involved in the child’s school and extracurricular activities and to maintain an environment for the child which is free from substance abuse.

  • 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.

Is there a difference between time-sharing arrangements and child custody?

No, there is no difference. In 2008, the Florida legislature abolished the concept of custody and replaced it with parenting plans and time-sharing.

Does Florida law favor the wife in time-sharing arrangements?

No. Under Florida family law, there is no presumption for or against the father or mother of the child when creating or modifying the parenting plan of the child.

Does Florida law favor certain time-sharing arrangements over others?

It is the public policy of Florida that each minor child have frequent and continuing contact with both parents after the parents separate or the marriage of the parties is dissolved and to encourage parents to share the rights and responsibilities, and joys, of childrearing.

Can I change a parenting plan and/or time-sharing arrangement after the court enters it as part of my finalized divorce?

Yes, but under limited circumstances. The modification of a parenting plan and time-sharing schedule requires a showing of a substantial, material, and unanticipated change of circumstances. Further, such modification must be in the best interests of your minor child. This is a high standard and a very difficult burden to meet.

If the parties agree to a parenting plan, it is important for the husband and wife to thoroughly go through the entire document with their respective family law attorneys to understand exactly what it encompasses. Once the parenting plan is entered by the court, it will likely be binding until the last minor child reaches the age of 18 because the burden is high to make subsequent changes.

Why do I need an attorney to assist me with my parenting plan?

Child custody issues can be extremely complex. Thus, it is crucial that each party to a divorce have an experienced and competent family law attorney to assist them with the divorce process.

The Law Office of Knellinger & Associates has the experience you need to assist you with your child custody issues. If you are initiating or currently going through a divorce, or if you already have a court order determining custody and need to seek a modification of that order, our family law attorneys can help.

With a true understanding of your family’s needs and your child’s best interests in mind, we will work with you to negotiate a parenting plan that is best for everyone. If an agreement cannot be reached, we will protect your rights and the best interests of your child in court.

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The Law Office of Knellinger & Associates provides legal advice and representation for individuals, entrepreneurs, and business owners in Gainesville, Florida, and communities throughout north central Florida, including cities such as Ocala, Starke, Palatka, Lake City, Middleburg, Trenton, Bronson, Lake Butler, Cross City, Williston, Chiefland, Alachua, Jasper, Live Oak, and Jacksonville, Florida.

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