What are Your Custody Options?

One of the biggest fears a parent faces when going through a Florida divorce can be the unknown issue of child custody. These fears however, can be alleviated by addressing the best interests of the minor children and working with an experienced Tampa divorce attorney.

In an effort to reduce the contention, litigation, and detriment a contested divorce may have on the parties and their children, Florida statues were amended to replace terms such as "custody" and "visitation" with a less confrontational term of art called "timesharing."  Timesharing addresses the issues involved in implementing a visitation schedule between the parents and their minor children.   Many factors are taken into consideration when analyzing and developing a timesharing schedule, but above all else the goal of the court system is to ensure that the best interests of the minor children are protected.

Although timesharing schedules can differ on a case to case basis, there are three primary types.   The first of the three types of timesharing schedules include a standard timesharing schedule.   Under this schedule one parent receives the majority of weekly timesharing and the other parent is afforded timesharing opportunities once during the week and every other weekend.   A standard timesharing schedule may be best suited when one parent has a demanding and fluctuating work schedule and where the majority timesharing parent has a flexible and accommodating schedule.

The second type of timesharing schedule is known as a substantial timesharing schedule.   Under this scenario the non-majority timesharing parent receives at least forty percent of the overnight timesharing opportunities.   A substantial timesharing schedule is designed by either the parents and or the court with the focus remaining on the best interest of the children.          

The third type of timesharing schedule is commonly referred to as a rotating or shared timesharing schedule.   When practicing a shared/rotating timesharing schedule each parent receives the same amount of timesharing opportunities with the children.   Important factors to consider when analyzing whether a shared timesharing schedule is in the best interest of the children include school issues, the proximity of the parents homes to each other, the age of the children, and the ability of each parent to accommodate the demands of a shared timesharing schedule.

There are several other important factors which should be analyzed when attempting to resolve a child custody case and when implementing a timesharing schedule.   Thus, it is important to ensure that your review and discuss all aspects of your particular case with a Florida divorce attorney.   By working with your divorce attorney, and just importantly by working with your spouse, a parenting plan can be designed which can alleviate the fears of a child custody case.