Our practical advice and formidable trial skills benefit any client who anticipates problems with family property division, parenting plans, alimony or child support.
Child Custody & Support
Defining Parental Responsibilities and Rights in Florida
With how emotionally charged child custody and timesharing disputes can be, it is important to keep in mind how difficult this time is for the children and to focus on putting their interests first. When parents divorce or separate, it is difficult on everyone involved, especially on the children. Parents face anxiety about their parental rights and time with their children. Children face concerns about whether the separation was their fault, how their lives will change and if their parents will feel differently about them after the divorce.
Parenting Plans and Time Sharing in South Florida
Florida child custody laws changed in 2008, essentially removing terms like child custody and visitation from the statutes. Rather than defining primary physical mother or father child custody and visitation rights, new laws require parents to work out a comprehensive parenting plan which clearly defines parental responsibility and time-sharing arrangements. Additionally, Florida laws now emphasize the importance of both father’s rights and mother’s rights as well as both father and mother playing an active role in the lives of their children. Therefore, absent abuse, neglect or other proof that a parent is unfit, Florida courts favor parenting plans rather than custodial cases that provide for significant involvement by both parents.
In order to be approved by the court, parenting plans must thoroughly address:
- How parents will share in the daily upbringing of the children
- How days, weekends, holidays and vacations will be shared by parents, including day-to-day schedule arrangements
- Which parent will be responsible for providing health care coverage
- How parents will share responsibility with regard to child support, medical concerns, education concerns, day-to-day activities and other matters
- How parents will communicate with each other and with the child
- Which parent’s address shall be used for school registration purposes
Our family law attorneys can help you negotiate a custody case thorough parenting plan that focuses on the best interests of your children as well as your goals. If a fair parenting plan cannot be achieved, we can guide you through mediation or represent your interests at trial.
What is a Typical Child Support in Florida
To determine an appropriate child support payment in Florida, courts will evaluate the existing standard of living and the needs of children to use as a guideline. The goal is to cause as minimal lifestyle interruption as possible amidst divorce proceedings and limit any child distress caused by the new parenting arrangement. When courts evaluate child support payments for a high net worth divorce, they take into account all of the same factors but make special consideration for the opportunities afforded families of greater means.
Factors that influence the court’s decision in this regard may include:
- Expensive hobbies
- Private tutoring or instruction
- Immersive summer camp
- Employment of a nanny or au pair
- Private school tuition
- College tuition planning
Simply put, wealthier parents are far more likely to consider enrolling their children in private education and to seek specialized tutoring or individual instruction in the fine arts and the court will evaluate these factors on a case by case basis.