The term ‘visitation’, as it relates to child custody, has changed over the years and is now referred to as ‘timesharing,’ which is a schedule that both parents agree on that details the dates and times that a child will spend with each parent. A timesharing schedule is part of the parenting plan that a divorcing couple creates that spells out how they will raise their child, including issues related to medical care, school, and how they will communicate with one another. Unfortunately, parents who are going through a contested divorce, in which they can’t agree on major issues such as timesharing, will have to rely on a judge to make the final decision concerning each parent’s timesharing schedule.
The Factors That Affect Timesharing In Florida
When a family court judge considers a parenting plan or is listening to evidence from both parents who could not create a parenting plan, the primary consideration is always going to be what is in the best interests of the child.
Family court judges would prefer that both parents have significant involvement in lives of their child, even if the child doesn’t live with both parents. But there are circumstances in which a judge may decide that a child’s best interests would be served if only one parent is responsible for making major decisions regarding the child’s life.
But in all cases, there are some factors that a judge will consider before making a decision about timesharing, including:
- The amount of responsibility given to each parent, and whether other family members such as aunts, uncles or grandparents will be assigned parental duties.
- The extent to which each parent can compromise and put their child’s best interests ahead of their own wants and needs.
- Whether both parents are likely to adapt to changes in the timesharing schedule in the future.
- The length of time the child has lived in the current situation, and how that child has adapted to that situation.
- The distance between the residences of both parents. Significant attention is paid to how living in more than one residence would affect the child’s school schedule and extracurricular activities.
- The child’s preference, especially in the case of a child who is mature enough to make an intelligent choice.
- Prior incidences of domestic violence or abuse that could affect the moral fitness of one parent.
- The efforts of each parent to shield their child from the details of the divorce, as well as custody issues.
- The physical health and psychological well-being of each parent.
- The extent to which both parents make the effort to communicate about issues related to their child.
- The child’s development stage, and how equipped both parents are to provide for the child’s future developmental needs.
Why You Need a Lawyer
If you are going through a divorce or paternity case involving a child, it is vital that you are aware of these factors, because it will affect how you create your timesharing schedule, or it will affect the evidence you need to present when you are trying to convince a judge to accept your proposed timesharing schedule instead of the other parent’s schedule. The Law Office of Eric C. Cheshire has nearly 30 years of experience handling these difficult issues. Please call us today at 561-295-3693 to schedule a confidential consultation.