A divorce with children means figuring out a time-sharing agreement, also known as child custody. Although there was a time when the mother had primary custody and the father got visitation, that is no longer the norm. In Pinellas County, and throughout Florida, we are seeing more equal sharing of custody between parents than ever before. However, if you and the other parent are having difficulty making a time-sharing plan work, here are some things to think about.
Put Your Children First
Your children still love their other parent, even though you do not. Do not place your feelings of not wanting to spend time with that person on them. Florida time sharing Statute 61.13 (3) takes many factors into consideration about child custody. However, it always acts in the best interest of the child(ren). When possible, and when it is in the best interest of the children, a judge will recommend equal time with both parents. Of course, when one parent travels or has a job that does not make this easy, there is flexibility. However, you and the other parent should work on a time-sharing agreement that gives your children substantial quality time with both of you throughout the month.
Make the Exchange Stress-Free for Your Children
In situations where a 50/50 time sharing situation is the plan, make it as stress free on the children as possible. Try making the exchange on a school day. For example, if Friday is your agreed upon day, one parent drops them at school Friday morning and the other picks them up after school. When you choose the exchange during a school day, your child does not have to say goodbye to you in front of the other parent or feel guilty about leaving you. Even if you do not have equal time sharing, consider changing in a manner where they are not faced with saying goodbye or seeing you both together.
Holidays, family celebrations, vacations, business trips, and even out-of-town extra-curricular events do not always happen on the “right” schedule. When you have a time-sharing agreement and the other parent needs some flexibility, penalizing them by taking away time really penalizes your children. If the other parent requests a change to the agreement temporarily, try to work it out between the two of you. Getting a child custody attorney involved every time you need to change the agreement for a short duration only costs you money, time and frustration.
Wagstaff & Pitelis Handles Child Custody
We understand that not all divorces and child custody cases need the help of a divorce attorney. However, when you need one, we will help you with your unique situation, whether it is to establish a time-sharing agreement, make changes to an existing one, or challenge the other parent on their proposal that you do not find agreeable. Call us today at (727) 584-8182 or fill out our contact form to learn more about our divorce and child custody services.