A Custody and Time Sharing Tampa FL Lawyer Asks, “Is That Child Custody Battle Really Going to be Worth the Fight?”
Custody and Time Sharing Tampa, FL
When a couple decides to divorce, a Tampa, FL custody and time sharing lawyer understands that there are often many battles and disagreements over how the property and assets they own will be divided. But the area that typically causes the most contention between a soon to be ex-husband and ex-wife is the custody of the children.
At The McKinney Law Group, our attorneys have extensive experience negotiating child custody cases and modifications. We understand how stressful and frightening this time can be. You have gone from having your child with you every day of his or her life to now facing the possibility of only having your child with you half the week or even less. Our legal team will work diligently to get you and your family the best possible custody outcome based on the circumstances of your situation.
Understanding Parenting Time in Florida
Over the past few years, the concept of and understanding surrounding parenting time has changed drastically. In the past, it was assumed that above all, the more a parent spends time with his/her child, the more significant benefits the child(ren) receive as a result.
The logic is only half true, however; studies show that face-to-face parenting time is extremely important, but quality over quantity was more positively impactful. In other words, there is a possibility that too much time with a child, if it is not quality time, or is when the parent is stressed, angry, anxious, or short tempered, will actually negatively impact the child than if the parent were to spend less time with the child, but in a positive manner, such as teaching the child a new skill or reading a book together.
Many child custody laws rely on this methodology whereby the custody arrangement is not only split regarding the parental decision-making, but also on the parenting time that should be allotted to each parent. In other words, the courts believe that it is in the best interest of the child to spend time with both parents, but that the time spent together should be quality in nature, even if it is only through visitation rights.
In general, whether you and your ex-spouse are maintaining communication or not, you should discuss your parenting time with a custody and time sharing Tampa, FL firm, The McKinney Law Group, for legal advice.
Parenting Time Factors to Be Considered by the Court
Parenting time allotment is based on the best interest of the child and balances the following factors:
- The wishes of the parent who is requesting parenting time.
- The wants of the child, especially when the child is of the age and maturity to understand the relationship between him/herself and the parent and his/her preferences for parenting time.
- The parenting time and caretaking functions of each parent two years prior to the divorce (if the child is under two years of age, then since the child’s birth).
- Any prior agreement made in a parenting plan or a habitual course of conduct of each parent and his/her caretaking function.
- The distances between the divorcing spouses’ residences and these residences as compared with the child’s home, school, and friends.
- Whether there is an appropriate reason for restricting parenting time due to past physical, emotional, or psychological (or threatened physical, emotional, psychological) abuse; among other considerations.
Additional factors may be considered depending on your case, and can be further discussed with a custody and time sharing Tampa, FL law firm.
Course of Conduct and Past Caretaking Functions Very Important to Court
The following are just some of the factors that would be determined in the division of parenting time between the spouses. The most important factor that is considered in the best interest of the child is the course of conduct and the caretaking functions of each parent before the divorce began.
For example, if one parent spent more time providing caretaking functions than another parent either due to availability or interest, the court will consider that course of conduct rather than an expressed desire by the absent parent who is only now taking interest in his/her children as a result of the divorce. This is for the protection of the children to ensure that parenting time is best split based on the ability and desire of parents to be involved in their children’s upbringing. A custody and time sharing Tampa, FL law firm, such as The McKinney Law Group can assess your case and help you to determine what kind of parenting time will be right for your situation.
Experienced Family Law Attorneys
It may be confusing to know what exactly rights are in a divorce. It is important to speak with the experienced family law attorneys from The McKinney Law Group. Contact our custody and time sharing Tampa, Florida family law firm for a free and confidential consultation.
The Reality of Child Custody Cases
The emotional turmoil that children endure while their parents wage for custody can affect their school work, as well as their social interactions with peers. And these battles can leave deep scars. Your custody and time sharing lawyer may suggest that you ask yourself the following questions before entering the custody battling arena:
- Custody fights can take months, if not years, before they come to a conclusion. Are you prepared for your children to suffer through months of stress and anxiety, not knowing where they will live, whether or not they will be split from their siblings, and how they will maintain a relationship with the parent they will not be living with?
- Are you prepared to watch as your child is forced to sit through interviews with attorneys, counselors, guardian ad litems, judges and other court personnel, where they may feel scared and intimidated? They also may feel as if they are being forced to choose their loyalty over one parent?
- It has been proven in many studies that children who witness high conflict between their parents can suffer from serious psychological issues. Are you willing to take that risk with your child’s mental health?
- Do you want a stranger making the ultimate decisions regarding who will be allowed to make the decisions for your children and how often you will be allowed to see them?
- Would it not be healthier for everyone to try to negotiate a custody agreement with your ex-spouse?
Contact a Custody and Time Sharing Lawyer for More Information
These guidelines are not for every child custody case. Although courts today are favoring more shared custody arrangements, as are many parents, there are still numerous situations where shared custody, or having the other parent awarded custody, would not be in the best interest of the child. Each situation is different and, in the end, the court’s goal is to make a custody decision that is in the best interest of the child.
Whatever your situation may be, if you are considering a divorce and would like to discuss your situation with a qualified custody and time sharing Tampa, FL lawyer from The McKinney Law Group, call today to set up an appointment for a free case evaluation.
Experienced Custody and Time Sharing Tampa, FL Lawyers
When you are getting a divorce and considering custody and time sharing Tampa, FL law firms such as The McKinney Law Group can help make the process as smooth as possible. We understand that these agreements can be emotionally draining, yet they are essential to the wellbeing of the children involved. With years of experience and a profound knowledge of family law, very often we are able to get the results parents are looking for and in a timely manner.
Lawyers at our firm understand the complex attention that a child may need; from academic to emotional, spiritual, and overall development. We also realize that these needs can be difficult to meet, especially when two parents are no longer together. With this in mind, we consider the restrictions of custody and time sharing in Tampa, FL. This may include the working schedules of each parent, vacation schedules, transitioning from one parent’s home to the other or to school, and so forth. Using this information, we can help to create a structured agreement that is fair to both parents as well as to the children.
Understanding Tampa Custody and Time Sharing
In Florida, “custody” and “visitation” has been removed from the legal statutes. Now the legal term is “time sharing” and the intention is to lessen the harshness of the situation. It is also meant to encourage parents to mutually adopt a schedule that suits their lifestyles but also encourages quality time with the children.
With regards to custody and time sharing Tampa, FL parents are expected to be actively involved in making decisions that will impact their child’s life. This can include schooling, extracurricular activities, spirituality, medical care, moral development, and so forth. As lawyers, we place an emphasis on parental involvement, but only as appropriate and on a case by case basis. We strongly believe the time sharing schedule should be clearly defined and integrated without negatively impacting the children. If this process proves to be especially difficult, we may encourage mediation to ease acrimony between the parents.
Determining Child Custody in Florida
In Florida, parents usually have equal rights and responsibilities. The court’s primary focus is to ensure the child’s best interests are being considered. To determine this, the court may want to see that each parent can do the following:
- Continue a healthy relationship with the child while adhering to the timesharing schedule
- Communicate any major schedule changes to the lawyer and/or court
- Make decisions based upon the child’s needs rather than the parents’
- Implement and maintain a healthy routine for the child’s sake
- Participate in the child’s school and after-school activities
- Maintain a healthy, abuse-free living environment
- Maintain healthy communications with the co-parent
- Meet all of the child’s mental, emotional, and physical needs
When it comes to custody and time sharing Tampa FL courts may also dictate additional guidelines. By having a family lawyer on your side, you can gain an understanding of what to expect during these proceedings.
If you would like to know how our custody and time sharing Tampa,FL firm can help you, please call The McKinney Law Group for a free case evaluation.