In 2008 when Florida statute 61, which governs divorce or dissolution of marriage, was greatly modified the terms concerning child custody issues were changed to eliminate the confusion of definitions surrounding the care, residency, visitation and decision making for minor children. The term parental timesharing now replaces the terms custody and visitation. It is most important to understand that the state of Florida strongly emphasizes the concept “In the best interest of the child”. In fact the court is admonished to consider a list of 20 mandated guidelines, more in certain individual cases, when setting up a parenting plan including parental timesharing and decision making for minor children and children with special needs beyond the age of l8. It is also important to know about the way the court now views time a child/children spend with each parent. This concept is called overnights.
The following 20 guidelines have been paraphrased to make them easier for you to understand. Keep in mind these are considered in the light of what is best for the child.
As one can easily see, it is highly unlikely an individual untrained in developing a parenting plan would be able to prepare a plan and present evidence and witnesses for each of the above 20 guidelines (more in some individual cases) to be followed when the court determines what is best for a child regarding parental timesharing and decision making. A Family Law attorney, an attorney trained and experienced in Timesharing law in Florida is essential to be sure you and your child/children receive the best outcome possible. Attorney Gisondo is well qualified and experienced in helping clients gain the best possible results when it comes to the best interests of their children.
In addition to the 20 guidelines the amount of time each parent will be given in the final parent plan developed and/or approved by a judge is largely determined on a concept known as “overnights”. This means the number of nights a child regularly spends with his/her parent or legal guardian. Spending a whole day say from 6 AM to 10 PM does not count as an overnight but spending the night, say from 10 PM to 6 AM does. When deciding what times a parent will have with their child and where these times will be is largely dependent on how many overnights the parent and child have spent together in the past and how many will be reasonable in the future following the dissolution of marriage. It is interesting to note that the number of overnights also heavily influences the amount of child support awarded.
Since timesharing is such an integral part of a parenting plan it is important to understand what a parenting plan is designed to do. Ideally it should provide each parent and each child an opportunity to spend quality time together while ensuring that decisions for the children’s medical, educational, religious, and discipline are made with the best interests of the children in mind. And, in addition to the requirements outlined in a parenting plan, in Florida, before a dissolution of marriage involving children can take place each parent must take a Florida certified parenting class. This class is specifically designed to help parents better understand what children will experience and how to best parent during and following a divorce. As time goes on, if the plan is not working for a significant reason, the court can make modifications to rectify what needs changing.
Without question, the areas of where your child will live, who your child will live with and when, and who will make decisions for medical, educational, religious, and disciplinary concerns are a vital part of the final decree for a dissolution of marriage involving children. Attorney Gisondo can and will give your case his experienced, knowledgeable, and personal attention. To find out how he can be of service to you and to answer any questions or concerns you might have, call his office at (561) 530-4568 to make an appointment for a free, initial, in-office consultation. In Mr. Gisondo’s words, from part of his mission statement, “…I provide clients going through a tough time with a light at the end of a tunnel…”.