How Florida Family Law Presumes Parental Love
Parents love their children equally, and there is no presumption in favor of the mother or father. These words are the premise on which Florida Family courts build their statutes regarding the care and nurturing of minor children following a dissolution of marriage (divorce) or separation of parents not married. What this statement means is that presumably a father and mother, or parents of the same sex, love each of their minor children with precisely the same amount of mental, emotional, and intellectual fervor. In reality, this is likely not quite the case for in many families one parent cares more for their minor children than the other. An example would be when one parent spends most of his or her time away from the children going to sports events and bars while the other parent stays home and provides most of the care and nurturing.
However, in the state of Florida, the Family courts choose to presume that both the mother and the father love their children equally and so have established what is termed shared parenting or timesharing as the way in which minor children will be cared for when their parents are no longer a couple. Florida’s motto for its minor children is “in the best interests of the child,” and so it is hoped that both parents will give equal love and time to their minor children.
No longer is the word “sole custody” used in reference to the care and nurturing of minor children unless a parent has been convicted of child abuse or domestic violence, is in jail, is heavily involved with alcohol or drugs, or is mentally or physically unable to care for the child. If both parents fall into this category, a third party such as a grandparent or the state will be given sole custody.
By using the concept of shared parenting, both parents are to share the care and nurturing evenly, and this includes the time spent with the minor children. Thus, parental timesharing was developed which allows each parent to have the same number of overnights with their children. It also means decision making involving a couple’s minor children in the areas of education, discipline, religion, and medical will be made jointly between the parents. A parenting plan is developed and should one or both parents fail to abide by this plan, which the judge must approve, the guilty party can be held in contempt of court and possibly fined or even given some jail time.
Yes, Florida Family courts are serious about parents sharing evenly the love and responsibility of raising their minor children and so presumes that parents love their children equally. It is vitally important for both parents to understand how each will be expected to respond to the care and nurturing of their children so as parents, they can put their animosities aside and raise their children “in the best interest of the child.” If you live in Palm Beach, Martin, St. Lucie, Miami-Dade, Broward, Orange, or Hillsborough county or New York or Washington DC, Family Law attorney Grant Gisondo offers a free, initial, in-office consultation where he will explain the guidelines for shared parenting and ways he can help with creating a parenting plan agreeable to both parents. His office hours are Monday through Friday from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM and, for new clients, Saturday from 8:30 AM to 1:00 PM. You can call 561-530-4568 to make an appointment.