Child Custody Lawyers in Delray Beach
Learn More About Florida Custody Laws
Child custody matters are almost always among the most contentious and emotionally-charged aspects of any divorce proceeding. Our main concern, and that of Florida custody law, is that the child’s environment stays as stable and undisrupted as possible. We understand how challenging this time can be for everyone involved and having a Delray Beach child custody lawyer can help to ensure a smooth transition. At Beaulieu-Fawcett Law Group, P.A., our skill, compassion, and professionalism helps us to advocate effectively for your children.
Call us at (561) 600-5711 today to schedule your consultation with our team! We have offices in Delray Beach and Wellington, FL.
How is Child Custody Determined in Florida?
The court’s primary consideration when awarding custody is always the best interests of the child in question. If both parents are able to come to an agreement on custody and visitation schedules, the judge is generally willing to accept that decision without trouble. However, when there is disagreement, the resulting battle can be fierce.
Because divorce represents such a massive disruption to a child’s life, the courts look for a way to keep the child in a stable home environment.
Florida custody laws take a wide variety of factors into account when determining custody, including:
- Who displays the greatest parental fitness?
- What is the existing parent-child relationship like?
- Will a young child be left alone during the day?
- Will the parent be able to take care of the child?
Legal vs. Physical Custody
When custody is determined, the courts will be deciding on both legal and physical custody. Legal custody refers to decision-making powers in the child’s life, such as healthcare, education, religion, and other lifestyle matters. If both parents share joint legal custody, they each have a say in these decisions, whereas sole legal custody grants this power to one parent only. Physical custody, on the other hand, determines where the child lives on a day-to-day basis. Joint physical custody will mean that the child alternates between living with each parent, while sole physical custody granted to a parent means the child lives with them, often with a visitation schedule established for the non-custodial parent.
What Visitation Schedules Do Most Judges Use?
In Palm Beach County, and in many other counties across the state as well, there are “Model Timesharing Schedules” which were oft-used in years past and which are still utilized quite frequently today. Remember, though, these are not State-approved or Court-approved schedules. Rather, they are just schedules that are so commonly used that they’ve been distilled to written documents and widely circulated.
1.Both Parents Live Within 45 Miles of One Another.
This is the most commonly used schedule merely because it applies to the highest percentage of circumstances. The basics of this plan are that during the school year one parent spends every other weekend (consisting of Thursday after school through Monday morning) and one overnight each week (Thursday) with the children. During half of the summer, the schedule is reversed, thus giving that parent timesharing consisting of Monday morning through Thursday evening, and every other weekend from Friday evening to Monday morning. Holidays are generally rotated from year to year, or split in half.
2. Both Parents Live in the Same State, but More Than 45 Miles Apart.
In this schedule, one parent spends every other weekend with the children during the school year, but this time it’s only from Friday afternoon to Sunday evening unless there is a Monday holiday, in which case the time-sharing is extended a day. During half of the summer, the schedule is also reversed so that the parent who has only had weekend visits during the school year gets to spend Sunday evening to Friday evening every week plus every other weekend from Friday evening to Sunday evening. Again, holidays are often rotated from year to year, or split in half.
3. Both Parents Live in Separate States.
In this schedule one parent gets one weekend per month with the children during the school year, often matching up with one of the Monday holidays that occur during most months of the school year, thus providing a 3-day weekend. In the summer, though, the parent who had the weekend timesharing would have a block of half of the summer break with no interruptions. Holidays are also generally rotated or split in half except for spring break, which the out-of-state parent has in its entirety every year.
While the above three “Model Timesharing Schedules” fail to cover every possibility, they do include most circumstances.
Be careful about wholesale adopting one of the above schedules as your own, though. Your situation is not a cookie-cutter custody matter and your timesharing schedule shouldn’t be, either. If you’re looking to implement or modify a timesharing schedule, by all means, review one of the “Model Timesharing Schedules” and mine it for all it’s worth for your particular circumstances.
At Beaulieu-Fawcett Law Group, our child custody attorneys in Delray Beach are prepared to help you navigate these complex legal matters. Call us at (561) 600-5711 to schedule your initial consultation!
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