Courts today do not designate one parent as having primary custody. Courts now implement what is called shared parental rights. Florida has moved to this concept in order to not favor one parent over the other and to promote parents working together in raising their children after a divorce. Courts do not give primary custody or full custody to a single parent except under certain circumstances. Determining the parenting plan of a minor child is one of the most critical elements of any divorce and as a result, Florida laws and courts are primarily concerned with parenting plan decisions that are in the best interests of the child. Any parenting plan decision can have a significant and long-term impact on the life of a child and the courts consider a wide variety of factors in making their decisions.

If you’re case involves a minor child, you must be prepared to provide as much detailed information as you can concerning all of these factors, and you must be prepared to discuss the other parent and their relative ability to provide, as well. Given the complex nature of most parenting plans and the parent-child bond, it’s no wonder cases involving children can be so emotionally charged. Having an experienced attorney involved can help you remain focused on what’s best for your child and ensure the case you present is fair, balanced and reflects what you feel is best for your child.

The most common elements courts consider in determining custody arrangements include:

  • continuity of the child’s school and home situations and the permanence of the proposed custodial home;
  • the mental, physical and moral state of the parents;
  • the ability of each parent to adequately provide for the child;
  • the bond that exists between the child and each of the parents and the ability of the parents to meet the child’s emotional needs;
  • the level of involvement each parent has, or will be able to provide, in the child’s life, including involvement in school or extracurricular activities;
  • the involvement of any other child care providers, such as a nanny;
  • the willingness of the parent to accommodate evolving needs;
  • the willingness of the parent to cooperate and encourage contact with the other parent;
  • the willingness of the parent to honor the custody agreement and time-sharing arrangement;
  • any history of domestic violence.

Developing a parenting plan that reflects your child’s best interests can be a complex process. Your attorney should be able to provide detailed guidance on what each of these factors involves ensuring that all pertinent information is included in your parenting plan.

At Valkenburg Law Group, P.A., we understand the critical impact a parenting plan can have on the life and future of a child; as a result, we take cases involving minor children very seriously. Our attorneys and staff have the knowledge, experience and resources to ensure your case effectively represents the needs and best interests of both you and your child. Parenting plan decisions will have a long-lasting impact on you and your child, and you want to be sure those decisions best represent your child’s unique needs.