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What should you know about child custody?

In the state of Florida, child custody is referred to as “timesharing.” This refers to the amount of time each parent will spend with their child or children. When determining timesharing, the court’s primary concern is the best interests of the child or children. Factors that the court may consider include the child’s relationship with each parent, the child’s school and community ties, the child’s physical and emotional well-being, and each parent’s ability to provide for the child’s needs.

There are two types of timesharing in Florida: primary and shared. Primary timesharing means that one parent will have the majority of the time with the child or children, while shared timesharing means that both parents will have roughly equal time. In cases where one parent has primary timesharing, the other parent will typically have a set schedule of visitation.

In addition to determining timesharing, the court will also make a determination on legal custody. Legal custody refers to the ability to make decisions on behalf of the child, such as decisions related to education, healthcare, and religion. In Florida, legal custody can be either joint or sole. Joint legal custody means that both parents have equal decision-making power, while sole legal custody means that one parent has the final decision-making authority.

When parents are unable to reach an agreement on timesharing and legal custody, the court will make a determination based on the best interests of the child or children. This may involve a trial, during which both parents will present evidence and testimony to support their position. The court may also appoint a guardian ad litem, who is an attorney appointed to represent the child or children.

It’s important to note that Florida law encourages parents to come to an agreement on timesharing and legal custody. In many cases, parents will participate in mediation, which is a process where a neutral third party helps them to reach an agreement. Mediation is generally less expensive and less time-consuming than a trial, and it allows the parents to have more control over the outcome.

If parents are unable to reach an agreement through mediation, the court will make a determination. The court will also issue a Parenting Plan which outlines the details of the custodial arrangement, including the time-sharing schedule, transportation arrangements, and decision-making responsibilities for each parent.

It’s also important to note that child support is separate from timesharing and legal custody. Child support is based on the income of both parents and the number of children involved. The court will calculate child support using Florida’s child support guidelines. The parent who pays child support is known as the obligor, while the parent who receives child support is known as the obligee.

In summary, child custody in the state of Florida is referred to as “timesharing” and it is the amount of time each parent will spend with their child. The court’s primary concern is the best interests of the child and it will consider various factors to determine timesharing and legal custody. Florida law encourages parents to come to an agreement on timesharing and legal custody and if parents are unable to reach an agreement, the court will make a determination. Child support is separate from timesharing and legal custody, it is based on the income of both parents and the number of children involved.