Why You Need a Timesharing Schedule/ItineraryFor Travel During Holidays With Your Child

travel during holidays with your childWhen time-sharing works, it can help create a nurturing environment for your children that is necessary after a divorce.

But if you don’t have a specific schedule or itinerary for travel during holidays with your child, you can run into trouble.

During the holidays, emotions tend to run higher when both parents want to spend as much quality time as possible with their child, and if there is no schedule in place, conflict is inevitable.

It is important to understand that planning your holiday travel schedule with your child during the divorce process is an effective way to avoid future problems.

What To Include In Your Parenting Plan Regarding Travel During the Holidays 

Your parenting plan agreement should include how you and the other parent will handle time-sharing during holidays and weekends. But it should also include how you will handle travel during the holiday season.

Your travel during the holiday provisions should include:

  • In-state Travel –On which holidays will each parent be able to travel with the child within the state? Where will each parent be going and for how long? In many instances, in-state travel poses less problems between parents than travel out of state or out of the country.
  • Out of State Travel – On which holidays will each parent be able to travel with the child out of state? Where will each parent be going and for how long? Will each parent get a major holiday such as Thanksgiving and Christmas during which they can take the child out of state?
  • International Travel – In most cases, you will need a court order from a family judge or a written consent form to travel out of the country with your child in a time-sharing situation. You can, however, list any future dates in which you would like to take that trip, so that when you do go to court to obtain authorization, the judge will see that you and the other parent previously agreed to the international travel.
  • Travel Itinerary – The traveling parent should provide the other parent with a travel itinerary which includes where and when their child will travel, and provide the other parent with the ability to communicate with their child during the travel timesharing.

By creating a travel holiday schedule, you can provide for your child and other family members involved, a holiday season that is free of conflict.

How a Lawyer Can Help With Your Time-Sharing Schedule 

As you are going through a divorce that involves children, your time-sharing schedule is one of the most important issues in the Parenting Plan that will need to be addressed. And because this is often an emotional issue, hiring an experienced and compassionate family lawyer can help you when it comes to creating a Parenting Plan and Timesharing schedulewith the other parent. The Law Office of Eric C. Cheshire has nearly 30 years of experience helping clients create fair and practical time-sharing schedules. Please call 561-655-8844 to schedule a confidential consultation.

Additional Reading

What Is My Parental Responsibility After a Florida Divorce?

Do I Need To Take A Divorce Parenting Class In Florida?

How Grandparents Can Gain Child Custody

The Ultimate Guide For Grandparents Who Want Child Custody

Child custody issues often occur between divorcing parents, but there are some instances in which other family members may want to get involved in this issue.Child Custody

For example, grandparents can seek custody of their grandchildren if the parents of the child are unable to properly care for a child, or if the parents agree to relinquish their custody rights.

Let’s take a look at the types of custody arrangements that are available to grandparents in Florida.

Child Custody Options For Grandparents 

Florida law allows grandparents to seek custody based on whether the child is classified as dependent or non-dependent.

A dependent child is under the care and supervision of the Department of Children and Families (DCF), the agency that ensures the safety of minors.

There are four options for grandparents seeking custody of a dependent child:

  • Temporary – Custody that only lasts for a specific period of time
  • Long-Term – Awarded after grandparents have six months or more of temporary custody, and DCF believes it is in the child’s best interests to remain with the grandparents.
  • Court-Ordered – DCF recommends to a judge that the child be placed with the grandparents until the parents are fit to regain custody.
  • Adoption – Grandparents gain permanent custody after the parents renounce their rights or a court takes away their rights.

Grandparents can also seek custody of a non-dependent child, which means the child is not under the care and supervision of DCF, and his or her welfare is not in danger.

There are four options for grandparents seeking custody of non-dependent child:

  • Temporary
  • Timesharing – Allows grandchild to live in grandparent’s house, but the child’s parents can still make major decisions involving the child’s life.
  • Adoption
  • Guardianship – Grandparents can petition to become guardians, which means they have sole parental responsibility of their grandchild until he or she turns 18. However, guardianship is not permanent, because either of the child’s parents could petition for custody before the child turns 18.

The best custody arrangement will always put the child’s best interests first, so grandparents who want custody must decide which option will be least disruptive to their grandchild’s life.

Custody Can Alter a Child’s Life 

We don’t take child custody lightly, because we know how this issue can affect a child for a lifetime. That’s why we are sensitive to all sides in a child custody claim, and our goal is to always do our best to serve a child’s bestinterest. Grandparents who are willing and able to seek custody can provide wisdom and guidance that a child desperately needs. Please call the experienced team  at The Law Office of Eric C. Cheshire at 561-655-8844 and schedule a confidential consultation to discuss your case.

Additional Reading:

The Hidden Truth About Child Support Laws

When and How To Modify Child Support In Florida

What To Know About Moving Out of State and Child Custody

What happens when a divorced parent wants to move out of state with their child? Obviously, if the other parent agrees, the process is fairly straightforward in terms of explaining to a family court why the move is being made.

There are, however, situations in which a parent wants to move out of state, but the other parent does not agree with the move for one reason or another.

But before diving deeper into this issue, it’s important to remember the distinction between a parent taking a child out of state on a brief trip, and child relocation, which is a permanent move.

After a divorce, Florida law does not require a parent to get the permission of the other parent if he or she wants to take a child out of state for a trip. But if taking the child out of state violates the existing custody arrangement, then the parent would have to get the written consent of their co-parent before he or she could take that child out of state.

In child relocation, however, the move is permanent, which means that the standards are higher for the parent to show that the move would be beneficial for the child.

Here are some of the factors that family court judges will take into consideration when hearing this type of child custody case.

Final Destination Is a Factor For Moving Out of State In Child Custody 

In many states, the destination where the parent wants to move is a major consideration in whether the move will be allowed to happen. The reason is that the further away that the one parent and child are moving from the other parent and other family members, the less ‘beneficial’ that move may be.

Child Custody

That doesn’t mean that judges will not allow a parent to move to a state far away, but it does mean that the parent would have to demonstrate that despite the distance, the move to the new destination is still in their child’s best interest.

The Existing Consent Order Is Another Factor In Moving a Child Out of State 

In some instances, the final divorce decree may include a parental agreement between the parents about instances in which their child could relocate to another state. If such an agreement exists, a judge may take this into strong consideration when deciding whether or not to agree to the move. However, the other parent can still object to the move if he or she believes that the move violates the divorce decree.

Depriving Child of Contact With the Other Parent Is Also a Factor 

Another big factor a family judge will consider when hearing a child relocation case is whether the move would deprive the child of meaningful contact with the other parent.

And in fact, the objecting parent could present evidence of how involved he or she is in their child’s life, and argue that the move (especially if it’s to a far destination) would disrupt that relationship in a way that would be harmful to the child’s well-being.

A judge would be reluctant to allow a move that would negatively impact the relationship between the child and the other parent; however, the parent wanting to move could argue that the benefits of the move (higher wages, lower cost-of-living) outweigh the drawbacks.

Good Faith is An Important Factor 

A parent must provide what is known as ‘good faith’ reasons for moving a child out of state.

Remember that when the parent files a petition to modify a child custody arrangement, he or she must show that a significant change in circumstance triggered the request.

Therefore, the parent making the request must show that the move is not being done on a whim, or to spite the other parent involved.

Good faith reasons would include:

  • A job move with an increase in pay that would provide a better standard of living for the child.
  • A move to a state with a lower cost of living that would also provide a better standard of living for the child.
  • A new marriage that includes a job transfer for the new spouse.

How Judges Make Their Final Decision 

Although every request to move a child out of state has its own challenges, family judges usually focus on a specific set of considerations when making a decision, including:

  • The child’s age and maturity level.
  • How a potential move could negatively affect their child’s relationship with the other parent and other close family members.
  • The financial stability of parent who wants to move with the child.
  • Whether or not the parent has violated the visitation agreement in the past.
  • Special educational or health needs of the child.

A child relocation request is a big issue that can have long-term ramifications for the child, and for the relationship between the parents and other close family members.

Protecting Your Legal Rights

Whether you are a parent with an opportunity to move out of state to improve your earning power, or you are a co-parent who wants to block the other party from moving your child to another state, you will need an experienced family law firm to help you pursue your legal claim.

For more than 29 years, Eric C. Cheshire has been handling complex family law cases, and has earned a reputation as a lawyer who obtains results for his clients. Child custody claims are often difficult to navigate and require the expertise of a seasoned attorney. Please call us today at 561-655-8844 to learn how we can help you.

Additional Reading

Five Child Relocation Considerations and How It Will Affect Child Custody

Time Sharing Modification To Change Parenting Plan for Child Custody

Issues You Can Encounter as A New Stepparent

Divorces can result from many kinds of conflicts, including challenges that arise between a stepparent and stepchildren in blended families.

Although every situation is different, there are some common problems that occur in these types of relationships, and understanding these problems can help stepparents modify their behavior, and create a more positive environment.

Child Feels Stepparent Treats Biological Children Differently 

In situations in which you have your own biological children, one of the most common challenges you may have is trying to make sure that you give your stepchild the same care, attention and discipline that you give to your biological child.

stepparent

Stepchildren may perceive that you favor your own child, which can create conflict in a household, and lead to problems with your spouse and other family members.

Try to create the same rules for all your children, and make sure that the consequences for breaking house rules are the same. Also, be aware of the time and attention you are giving to all of the children in your blended family, keeping in mind that each child is special and deserves fair and equal time.

Stepparent Feels Stepchild Doesn’t Show Any Respect

In some instances, you may feel that your stepchild doesn’t respect your authority because you are not their biological parent. This can create resentment and hostility if the situation is not dealt with in a loving and age-appropriate manner.

You can help diffuse this tension by sitting down with your stepchild or stepchildren, and  explain that you have no intention of trying to replace their biological parent, and that you simply want to be there for them as much as possible.

Communicating in a way that acknowledges their fears about your role in their life can go a long way toward creating a more harmonious relationship.

Stepparent Bad Mouths Biological Parent

As a stepparent, you should never make any disparaging comments to your stepchild about the biological parent who is not in your household. Making negative comments or opinions about their biological parent will most definitely cause your stepchild to experience feelings of confusion, anxiety, resentment, and a host of other residual negative emotions. No matter how mature you think your stepchild is, exposing them to the problems you have with their biological parent will create these negative emotions. Your stepchild may believe you are trying to undermine the relationship with their biological parent, when that may have not been your intention at all.  In any case, making negative or disparaging comments about the biological parent, does not produce positive results.

If you have any issues with your stepchild’s biological parent, arrange for a time when you and your spouse can meet with that person and air out your differences.

If your stepchild is the one who is disparaging their biological parent, it is your responsibility as an adult to speak to your spouse, and address your stepchild’s concerns with the biological parent.

Helping Families Through Difficult Times

All the suggestions for establishing a strong relationship with your stepchildren are still valid if you are faced with a divorce with their biological parent. In fact, if you hope to maintain a bond with your former stepchildren, these tips can help set the stage for the future.

The Law Office of Eric C. Cheshire has handled difficult family law situations for more than 25 years. Please call us at 651-655-8844 if you need to discuss a family legal situation. We are always here to lend our expertise in this area in any way we can.

Additional Reading

Getting Through the Emotional Stages of Divorce

Steps To Protecting Children Emotionally During a Divorce

Five Child Relocation Considerations And How it will Affect Child Custody

Summertime is a popular time for people to think about moving, whether it’s to a bigger house in the same neighborhood, or to a different city or state because of a job.  When relocating, you might be considering what part of town and style of house you’d like to live in and whether your new home will be in proximity to schools and shops.  When child relocation involves custody issues, whether pre- or post-divorce, there are additional things you might want to consider before you relocate.

  1. How far are you planning on moving?  

Whether you are moving within the State of Florida or moving out of state, where you are moving to, and how far the location is from your current residence is an important consideration.  Under child relocation laws, if you decide to move more than fifty miles from your current residence, then you are required to file a petition that informs the court and your ex-spouse of your intent to move.  This is required even if your divorce and parenting plan/custody agreement is still pending.

  1. Talk to your ex-spouse

If you are considering a move, you may be able to avoid filing a petition if your ex-spouse consents to the relocation in a written agreement.  This agreement must define the time-sharing rights of both parents or any other person who may be entitled to visitation, and it must describe any transportation agreements related to visitation.  Of course, the Court should sign off on this agreement.

  1. Be prepared to provide detailed information about your planned relocation 

When filing a petition or reaching an agreement with your ex-spouse, you should be able to provide information on your new residence, when you intend to move, why you are planning on moving, and you will also have to propose a post-move time-sharing schedule and transportation arrangement.

  1. It may be a while before you can actually move

If you file a petition for child relocation with the court, you cannot relocate during the time period that your ex-spouse has time to object to your petition, which is generally twenty days.  Moreover, if your ex-spouse does object to your move, you cannot move without court approval.  After your ex-spouse objects, there likely will be a hearing where the court will decide whether to allow the move.

  1. Above all, you should consider the best interests of your child, as this is the primary issue that the court considers when deciding whether to allow the relocation.

It is always important to consider the impact that a move might have on your child.  Remember that they too will be starting over.  Maybe they will be attending a new school and will have to make new friends.  In addition, the best interests of the child are what the court considers when determining whether to grant a relocation.  Relocation cannot be based solely upon a finding that the move would serve the best interests of the parent and not their child.

Overview of Florida’s Relocation Law

Under Florida law relocation means that a parent is relocating at least fifty miles from their current residence and that they intend to live there for at least sixty consecutive days.  This definition does not include temporary relocations for purposes of education, vacation, or providing the child with health care.

If you are seeking to relocate, you should either provide the court with a written agreement regarding the relocation or file a petition to relocate.  If you and your ex-spouse can reach a consensus on the relocation, then a written agreement may be the best way to obtain approval from the court.  The written agreement must contain:

(a) the consent of both parents regarding the relocation;
(b) a custody time-sharing schedule that specifically addresses visitation for the parent who is not relocating; and
(c) a transportation arrangement that is necessary to achieve the time-sharing schedule.

Without an agreement, any parent who wants to relocate must file a petition with the court.  Florida law very specifically outlines what must be included in the petition, and if properly filed, in most cases there will be a hearing to determine whether the petition for child relocation should be granted.  The parent who is seeking to relocate must establish by a preponderance of the evidence that the move is in the best interest of the child.  The court considers the following when making a decision on child relocation:

  • The relationship that the child has with the relocating and non-relocating parent, and whether there are other significant relationships, such as with relatives who live nearby;
  • The age and the needs of the child and whether the relocation will impact their development;
  • Whether the relationship that the child has with the non-relocating parent can be preserved;
  • Whether the child has a preference;
  • Whether the quality of life will be enhanced for both the relocating parent and the child;
  • Any pros and cons of the relocation as provided by the parents;
  • The economic circumstances of the parents and whether relocating will improve those circumstances;
  • Whether the relocating parent is seeking to move in good faith;
  • Whether there are any job opportunities for the parent who objects to the relocation if that parent also decides to relocate to stay close to the child;
  • Whether there is any history of substance abuse or domestic violence;
  • Any other factors that might affect the best interest of the child.

It is important to note that anyone who has a legal right to visitation with a minor child such as a grandparent, step-parent, or guardian, who might lose visitation or time-sharing with the child, has the same rights as the parents to file an objection to a relocation and make their case before the court.

Contact Our Dedicated and Knowledgeable West Palm Beach Family Law Attorney

If you are planning to move this summer with your child or even if your ex-spouse is moving away with your child it is important that you consult with an experienced Attorney.  Eric C. Cheshire, P.A. is dedicated exclusively to divorce and family law, and as such, we will advocate for your rights and interests in any related pre- or post-divorce cases.  Call us today at (561) 655-8844 to schedule your consultation and find out what we can do for you.

 

Reasons for Child Relocation That Are Considered by the Courts

Child relocation cases require balancing the needs of both parents and the child. Luckily, parents can’t just decide to move away from the other parent.  If a new custody agreement cannot be reached between the parents, then the court gets involved to make changes to the child custody agreement. There are many reasons for child relocation that are considered by the court.  A court might adjust a custody agreement to allow for relocation for the following reasons.

Economics

Economic reasons for child relocation are often cited in relocation petitions. In fact, even when other factors motivate the request, the court will look at the likely economic impact of a possible move. It is a logical approach since a family’s economic situation clearly affects the child’s well-being. While a parent moving out of state can create visitation difficulties for the other parent, courts recognize that adults sometimes need to move because they are being transferred by their current employer or have significantly better job opportunities in a different location. In this situation, the courts seek to determine what is in the best interest of the child by weighing the potential economic benefits against the possibility of damaging the other parent’s relationship with the child.

Remarriage

When a parent remarries, they may petition the courts for permission to join their new spouse in a different state. Alternately, they may seek a change in the existing custody order because of their current spouse, the child’s stepparent, needs to relocate for professional reasons. Since the child is likely to benefit from the pooling of their new family unit’s resources, courts will consider the potential for good, the necessity of the move and the chance that it will disrupt the other parent’s relationship with their child.

Relationships with Extended Family

It is not uncommon for parents to ask to relocate so that they can be closer to their extended family. Most argue that being near other family members will provide a stronger support network and afford them assistance with childcare so that the parent can work or further their education. If the court is convinced that the move will offer the child advantages, it may allow it. However, the request may be viewed unfavorably if the court feels that the move will create a needless disturbance in the child’s environment or generate unreasonable hardships for the other parent.

Personal Reasons for Child Relocation

Other personal reasons for child relocation can be also be used. For example, parents who request a change in the custody agreement so that they can move to join a new romantic partner may find the court willing to allow it if they can convince the court that the move will ultimately create a better situation for the child. However, if both parents are actively involved and have a healthy relationship with their child, one parent may be able to block the petition by arguing that it would unnecessarily interfere with their parental rights.

Related articles about Child Relocation:

The issue of child custody is delicate and complex. In any child custody relocation case, all relevant factors are weighed to determine whether a move is in the child’s best interests. In this complicated situation, it is crucial that you have an attorney capable of guiding you through the process and safeguarding your interests. With more than 25 years of experience in divorce and family law, attorney Eric C. Cheshire has the knowledge and integrity to provide assistance with a variety of child custody issues. Contact Cheshire Family Law today to schedule a consultation.

Time Sharing Modification to Change Parenting Plan for Child Custody

Time sharing modification

Life never stands still, so change is inevitable. Usually time sharing is established when a couple first gets divorced, but sometimes time sharing modification is necessary.

When it comes to matters of parenting plans and child custody, making adjustments can be tricky, and it is essential to have any alterations documented properly. How do you accomplish this?

Review the existing custody order.

Before you can determine how to change your parenting plan, it makes sense to spend a little time reviewing the existing time sharing court order. Read through it carefully. Think about what is working for your family, what is not and why. Identify alternative options.

Decide what changes you would like to see.

When seeking solutions, consider the possibilities and decide what changes you would like to pursue. Assemble a list of reasons why you would like to see these changes.

  • Has either parent had a change in financial circumstances?
  • Does one parent want or need to relocate?
  • Is your child having an educational or emotional issue that deserves to be addressed?
  • Is the other parent not abiding by the existing plan or acting in an abusive manner?

Remember that the guiding factor that courts use to determine whether a time sharing modification or some other change to the parenting plan is warranted is whether it is in the best interests of the child.

Talk with the other parent.

While it is possible to modify a parenting plan over the objections of the other parent, it is easiest to do so if all interested parties agree to the change. If circumstances allow it, discuss your desire to modify the time sharing plan with the other parent and try to reach a suitable agreement. The courts appreciate it when parents make a real effort to work together to handle the inescapable challenges of parenting, and they will generally look favorably on requests for parenting plan changes that both parties have agreed to. However, if your relationship is stormy or acrimonious, it may be necessary to skip this step and go straight to your lawyer for assistance in seeking any modifications.

Seek legal assistance.

If for any reason both parties cannot come to a reasonable agreement, you will need to get the courts involved. A child custody hearing will be held to present your request and explain why the changes are in the child’s best interest. Your family lawyer can provide guidance in how to best make your case. The other parent will have a chance to respond, and the court will decide whether to alter the time sharing plan.

Even if both parents agree to change parenting plan, you will want to speak with your lawyer and have a document that outlines the new plan drawn up and approved by the courts. This prevents confusion and limits the likelihood that the other parent might go to court later and claim that you are interfering with their parental rights by not respecting the parenting plan.

At Cheshire Family Law, we’ve been helping Florida families find the solutions they need since 1988. For assistance with time sharing modifications and other child custody issues, contact us today at (561) 655-8844.

 

Top Reasons to File for Modification of Child Custody

modification of child custody

Some child custody arrangements don’t work out as the parents had hoped or planned. Unforeseen circumstances, such as a job relocation to a new city, can force parents to attempt a change in their current custody arrangement. In these cases, parents must work with the courts to establish a new agreement that puts the interests of the child or children at the front.

Understanding the common reasons for modification of child custody agreements and the process involved can help you prepare for the changing situations in your own life.

Reasons for a Change in Child Custody

To qualify for a modification to a child custody agreement, the court must believe the reasoning presented by the parent or parents is serious enough for a change. The court will consider the needs of the child first; a parent complaining about a slightly longer drive to pick up their child probably won’t be granted a modification.

  • Relocation is a common reason to alter child custody if it meets certain thresholds. The judge must weigh a number of factors, including the reason for the move and how the move could affect the current schedule of visitations. The judge must also consider the effect a change could have on the schedule of the child when it comes to school and extracurricular activities.
  • The loss of income and the inability to provide a comfortable environment for the child are other common reasons for a change in child custody.
  • The behavior of a parent can also give cause for the other parent to request a change. If the child is believed to be in danger, for example, the parent can petition for full custody of the child.
  • A lack of cooperation when it comes to keeping to the visitation schedule can also lead to a change. The uncooperative parent will need to explain to the judge his or her reasoning to prevent modification to the custody agreement.

The Process of Modifying Child Custody Agreements

Depending on whether the parents are willing to cooperate with each other, a child custody change can come about in two different ways.

  1. If only one parent wants a modification of child custody, a motion must be presented to the court and the other parent must be notified. The parent who wants the alteration will need to demonstrate that the change is necessary in order to benefit the child. In a situation dealing with potential child abuse, for example, the parent will need to present a witness and police reports to the court.
  2. However, if both parents are willing to work together to modify the current child custody agreement, they won’t need to worry about lengthy court proceedings. The parents can simply present a document to the court outlining the changes that they wish to make to their agreement. The court will need to approve it before it will go into effect.

If you think you have a valid reason for a modification in child custody agreement, first, talk to your ex-spouse. You might be able to reach an amicable decision. If that doesn’t work, then call a family law attorney. They can help navigate through the process of changes in child custody. Feel free to contact us via our online form and Attorney Cheshire will reply back to you personally.

7 Tips if Fighting for Child Custody

If you’re facing a divorce, fighting for child custody can be an arduous journey. You may need to pick your battles carefully and decide which aspects of child custody can be compromised with your current spouse.

Fighting for Child Custody

Although emotions run high during this time, it’s important to take a realistic approach and take stock of your situation before you decide to fight.

We hope these tips will help you towards a successful outcome.

Don’t Assume You Will Win by Default

Factors that judges use when couples are fighting for child custody are always changing. Being the mother of the children doesn’t mean you will automatically get custody of your children. In the past, some lifestyle situations, such as a recovery from a drug addition, played a major role in the court’s decision. However, some of today’s judges don’t give these circumstances much weight.

Consider Your Child’s Needs Above All

Before you begin fighting for child custody with your spouse, consider whether this choice is the best option for your children. In many cases, the judge will decide on a child custody agreement that maintains stability for the children. If your post-divorce lifestyle won’t provide a good environment for your children, fighting for child custody might not be the best choice.

A Lengthy Battle Will Result in High Legal Costs

If you and your spouse can’t come to an amicable time sharing agreement, you will face mounting legal bills as you continue to allow the courts to decide for you. We realize you would spend every last dime if you truly believe that your children shouldn’t be with your spouse, but going broke won’t help your children either. Be prepared for the financial cost, and keep in mind the extent of your financial limits.

Plan for Rising Stress Levels

Pursuing a lengthy child custody battle will probably result in excessive amounts of stress. Recognize this fact and plan ahead for ways to relieve the stress of endless court dates and legal arguments. Taking care of yourself will help your children have a stable home environment when they’re with you. You’ll also be less likely to have an angry outburst during the legal proceedings.

Finding a Good Lawyer

Even though you could attend child custody hearings on your own, but it will help you tremendously if you work with a lawyer to walk you through the process. You’ll benefit from their experience of the process as well as the local court system. Spend some time researching potential child custody lawyers. Look for lawyers who are experienced in your local laws and who can answer your child custody questions.

Be Prepared for Intensive Scrutiny

During child custody hearings, your parenting skills and personal habits will fall under close examination. Look for ways you can make noticeable improvements in your parenting. Even if you’re a wonderful parent, there may be some minor areas that could use some improvement. For example, you could work on being more patient with your children and keeping your cool.

Gather Important Documents

Many times, the success of a child custody proceeding depends on the evidence you can provide. Keeping a log showing how much time you regularly spend with your children can be useful. You can also use other documents to show your involvement, such as notes from your child’s teachers or bank statements showing your financial support. On the flip side, also keep a log of your ex-spouse’s interaction. Try not to be petty, but to show habits and the emotions of the child.

Deciding to seek custody of your children is not a decision that you should take lightly. Careful consideration can help you make the best choice for you and your children.  Attorney Cheshire has been helping families since 1988 navigate through the legal system when it comes to child custody and other family law issues. Call him today at 561-655-8844 for a consultation to see how he can assist you with your case. Or fill out the Family Law Question on the left side of the page. He will reply to you personally.

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Top 4 Ways to Sabotage Child Custody Litigation

Divorce is never easy, and can become even more complicated when kids are involved. Child custody litigation can be emotionally and financially draining, especially when parents fight back and forth. Many times, things are said and done that can negatively affect family relationships.

To avoid problems during child custody litigation, it is essential to understand the issues that commonly sabotage a parent’s custody case.

At the law firm of Eric C. Cheshire, P.A., we have encountered these 4 offenses that happen more often than others during child custody litigation.  If possible, try to avoid them at all costs.

1. Moving in with a Boyfriend or Girlfriend

During a divorce, this is a major offender in child custody litigation.  Children have a difficult time dealing with the fact that their parents are separating. It is hard to see parents moving on, and it takes time for children to become comfortable with the idea new people will be entering the picture.Even though the parents are free to date other individuals, judges frown upon parents exposing their children to their new significant others during the divorce process. For the children’s well-being, it is best to keep new boyfriends and girlfriends away until things settle down after the divorce is final.

2. Taking Kids Out of the Area Without Advanced Notification

Even during the process of a divorce, before it is finalized, parents should agree on a visitation/time-sharing schedule. Besides setting dates and times, it is common courtesy to advise the other parent when a vacation or out-of-area trip is planned. If one parent leaves the area with the children, without notifying the other parent, it could be used against them in court, as the parent who left could be portrayed as withholding the children from the other parent. In this situation, the uninformed parent could have grounds to request that visitation be restricted or monetary sanctions imposed against the offending parent.

3. Failing to Pay Child Support

One parent is usually ordered by the Court to pay child support to the other parent. If one parent ignores this ruling, a judge may find the person in contempt, which can result in monetary sanctions or jail time, or both. Each parent has a legal obligation to support their children according to their needs and the parent’s financial abilities. In the state of Florida the financial obligation usually ceases when the child turns eighteen, although in certain cases involving special needs, it may extend beyond this age. Other factors may result in child support terminating prior to the age of maturity.Child support is calculated pursuant to Florida Statute 61.30, which uses a mathematical formula that considers the income of both parents, child care costs, medical insurance and expenses, and the amount of time the child spends with each parent, and which parent pays certain expenses.  See other factors in determining child support.

4. Alienating the Other Parent

Divorce can be very stressful and confusing to the children involved; and sometimes, they feel as though they are being torn between two people they love. When living apart, one parent may be in the habit of talking negatively about the other parent. This makes children feel like they must choose sides, which can be emotionally devastating and lead to parent alienation syndrome. The end result of parent alienation can leave children resenting or hating one of their parents, as well as developing emotional problems in the future.When parents invoke emotions of disrespect or even resentment toward the other parent, it can have lasting effects on a child. The child may develop separation anxiety or use the same techniques for dealing with relationships as an adult.

Not all children show the same signs of parental alienation; however, many children do develop some type of hostility, rejection, or a desire to stop speaking with, or spending time with the other parent. A young child may cling to one parent and avoid the other parent. An older child may develop sleep disorders or have anger issues. Other signs of alienation syndrome include:

  • Having trouble forming close relationships
  • Inappropriate feelings of vulnerability
  • Conflicts with authority
  • Withdrawing from social situations
  • Developing psychological dependency

By understanding the effects of divorce on children, you can also take steps in preventing this type of behavior.

Children sometimes suffer the most during the divorce process, but this does not have to be the case.  Parents can emotionally support their children when they may be experiencing feelings of anxiety, confusion, or a sense of displacement. The children are losing the security of a unified home and must deal with the stresses and uncertainty that come with having divorced parents. Understand the signs of parental alienation, and determine what you can do, keeping in mind that healthy and supportive co-parenting is a key component to insuring that the children’s best interests are first and foremost during and after the divorce.

Seeking custody of your children is not a decision that should be taken lightly. Careful consideration, and avoiding the common pitfalls that sabotage child custody litigation, can help you make the best choices for you and your children.  For more tips to successfully navigate through child custody litigation without sabotaging your case, it is wise to consult with an experienced lawyer who is exclusively dedicated to divorce and child custody matters.

Attorney Eric C. Cheshire has been helping families since 1988 navigate through the legal system when it comes to child custody and other family law issues. Call him today at 561-655-8844 for a consultation to see how he can assist you with your case. Or fill out the Family Law Question on the left side of the page. He will reply to you personally.