There is nothing more difficult for a court to decide than which parent the minor children should live with. In an initial divorce action the court will be guided by one principle: the best interest of the child(ren). It is important to note that Florida Statute 61.13(2)(b) states that “[i]t is the public policy of this state to assure that each minor child has frequent and continuing contact with both parents after the parents separate or the marriage of the parties is dissolved and to encourage parents to share the rights and responsibilities, and joys, of childrearing. After considering all relevant facts, the father of the child shall be given the same consideration as the mother in determining the primary residence of a child irrespective of the age or sex of the child.”
Our firm will help you through this process with the skill and sensitivity that these types of cases need. Mothers should no longer think that their children will not be taken away, and likewise, fathers should no longer think that the court will not award them equal time sharing. It is important to have an attorney help you present your case in a light most favorable to you and the statutory factors that will be considered.
You should understand that, absent a marital settlement agreement, the court determines all matters relating to time sharing with your children.
For purposes of timesharing in an initial dissolution action, the best interests of the children must include evaluation of all factors affecting the welfare and interests of the children, including, but not limited to:
1. The parent who is more likely to allow the child frequent and continuing contact with the
2. The love, affection, and other emotional ties existing between the parents and the child.
3. The capacity and disposition of the parents to provide the child with food, clothing, medical care or other remedial care recognized and permitted under the laws of this state in lieu of medical care, and other material needs.
4. The length of time the child has lived in a stable satisfactory environment and the desirability of maintaining continuity.
5. The presence of a family unit, of the existing or proposed custodial home.
6. The moral fitness of the parents.
7. The mental and physical health of the parents.
8. The home, school, and community record of the child.
9. The reasonable preference of the child, if the court deems the child to be of sufficient intelligence, understanding, and experience to express a preference.
10. The willingness and ability of each parent to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing parent-child relationship between the parent and the other child.
11. Evidence that any party has knowingly provided false information to the court regarding a domestic violence proceeding pursuant to FS 741.30.
12. Evidence of domestic violence or child abuse.
13. Any other fact considered by the court to be relevant.
Contact our office if you have any questions regarding a timesharing dispute. Please note that these factors are used in initial timesharing determinations. For modifications, please see the Modifications section of this website.
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