At Griffin Family Law, I take pride in representing the parents of minor children as they work to establish child custody and time-sharing arrangements. In Jacksonville, besides situations where one parent has been deemed unfit or a danger to their child, the courts have established that both parents have the legal right to spend time with children and play an active role in their upbringing.
However, since parents can’t always agree on custody or the amount of time the non-residential parent should be given with a child or children, child custody lawyers may be needed to help negotiate an arrangement that works for all parties. At Griffin Family Law, I represent residential and non-residential parents when it comes to custody and visitation disputes. If you need these types of legal services, I encourage you to reach out to my office today to set up an initial consultation.
Child Custody and Your Rights
In Florida, the term “custody” is commonly replaced with “parental responsibility.” These are used to determine the amount of time that a parent spends visiting or housing their child or children. It is not the same thing as legal and physical custody.
With legal custody, it is what gives a parent the right to make decisions for a child. This includes medical decisions, where they go to school and more. Physical custody in Florida is used to describe if the parent has the right to house their child.
Joint Custody (Shared Parental Responsibility)
According to Florida state law, there’s no such thing as joint custody. Both parents involved have time sharing with the child or children, which is determined and ordered by the court based on what is best for the child or children in question. If both of a child’s parents are sharing legal and physical custody, it is referred to as “shared parental responsibility.” If you want to protect your rights and ensure you get to spend time with your children while being able to make decisions regarding their lives, it’s a good idea to hire a Jacksonville family law attorney.
If you receive shared parental responsibility, then both of a child’s or children’s parents have to agree on any major decision that will impact the child’s well-being or welfare.
What Is the Purpose of a Time-Sharing Agreement?
Even though some parents are comfortable with no time-sharing plan in place, this isn’t always the best option. Recently, child support laws and requirements have changed in Florida. Now having a formal agreement in place is beneficial to ensure the child support amounts are calculated fairly.
If the non-custodial parent in the situation takes the child or children overnight for 25% of the time or more, then it will reduce the total amount of child support they are required to pay. This means that the final time-sharing plan that is created could have financial implications.
In the past, a time-sharing plan was called a “visitation arrangement.” While the name has changed, these do the same thing, which is to provide a formal agreement that outlines the amount of time that the minority time sharer has with their child or children and the times when the visitation will take place.
At Griffin Family Law, my goal is always to create a plan that is fair for both parents and that is in the best interests of the child or children involved.
Pitfalls of Not Having a Formal Time-Sharing Agreement
If you don’t have a court-approved child custody agreement in writing, there are several issues that may arise. For example, the parent who may be able to receive child support may find it difficult or impossible to receive what they are entitled to.
Also, the parent who must pay child support may have to pay the amount that has been determined by a court order, even if they are taking the child or children for more overnight stays.
It’s the Florida Department of Revenue that is responsible for enforcing child support in the state. The calculations that are used are based on how many overnight stays the child or children spend with each parent. In recent months, there have been quite a few rulings that state if you have an informal agreement in place, it won’t result in the Department of Revenue changing the assigned child support amount or schedule that is used for the calculations.
Understanding Your Rights and Seeking Assistance from an Experienced Jacksonville Family Attorney
There’s no question that issues related to child custody and visitation can be confusing and stressful. However, you should remember that in the state of Florida, it all comes down to what is in the best interest of the child.
If you need help with your case, reach out and get in touch with Griffin Family Law. I will be happy to review your case and situation and work to help you achieve the desired outcome for your situation.