Children & Divorce
Divorce alone is stressful and complicated, but those stresses multiply with children and divorce.
When children are involved, there must continue to be interaction among the parties.
Significant amounts of money are spent on lawyers simply because the parties cannot get along even during the few moments it takes to pick up or drop off a child for visitation.
Judges will sometimes have to lay out in great detail how exchanges regarding children will take place.
Child custody contests can be as inexpensive or costly as the parties cause them to be.
Children and Divorce – Custody
There is no presumption in favor of women in Florida with regard to custody.
In determining who is the more appropriate parent for the child to live with, Court’s apply a “best interest” test.
Occasionally, depending on age, the child may spend an equal portion of each week/month/year with each parent, although Courts do not particularly favor this arrangement.
When custody battles really heat up, psychologists, psychiatrists, and other experts may be brought in to examine all concerned and to help the Court in determining what is in the best interest of the child.
In general, Florida law utilizes a concept called Shared Parental Responsibility.
What this means is that, even though the child may live with one parent, the other parent has equal say in how the child is brought up.
Each party has input for example on issues relating to education, health, religion, discipline, etc., and as always, if the parties can’t agree, the Judge will decide for them.
Visitation issues can also arise.
Many non-custodial parents will want to spend as much time as they can with the child. Courts generally try to strike a balance between the work schedule of the parents and the needs of the child.
Attendance at a children and divorce seminar is required for parties with children.
Children and Divorce – Relocation
Another important issue arises when the custodial parent wishes to relocate to another geographic area with the parties’ minor child or children.
There are some very specific rules that apply in this situation. Parents may agree to a relocation.
Unless there has been such an agreement to the relocation, the custodial parent wishing to relocate must notify the other parent of the proposed relocation in the form and with the information required by the statute.
There is then a deadline for filing an objection to the relocation in the form required by the statute. Once an objection is filed, the party wishing to relocate must institute an action in court to get permission to relocate.
Relocation with the child or children without following the notice and other requirements may subject the party to contempt, an order for return of the child, and other consequences.