Under Florida law, both mothers and fathers have rights to their children. Many people unfairly assume that a mother has more rights to their child but this is not always the case, especially when they are married to the father of the child. When going through divorce, it is not uncommon for a mother to encounter a delicate situation that calls for legal advice. This is why it is crucial that they turn to the assistance of a divorce attorney who has handled these cases in the past.
Robert Sparks Divorce Attorneys stand by the sides of mothers during one of the most difficult times in their life when a divorce is necessary. When it pertains to issues such as paternity, child custody, visitation, and even domestic abuse, we are here for all of your needs. Contact our offices for the compassionate and knowledgeable are that you seek in regards to your divorce case in Florida.
Florida Laws Regarding Custody, Visitation, and Timesharing of Children
In the past, you may have heard individuals state that mothers always get full custody involving their children. However, over the years, Florida courts have always favored a situation where both the mother and father of a child are sharing the parenting duties as equally as possible. This means putting the best interests of the child before all else and maintaining a co-parenting schedule when the situation calls for it.
In 2023, Florida law made modifications to Florida Statute 61.13 so that timesharing is kept as equal as possible between both parents so that the best interests of the child are always considered. This means that, if a parent is looking for more than 50% of timesharing of their child, they must show that equal timeshare is not in the best interests of the child. If there have been previous issues regarding contempt of court, domestic violence, or parental alienation, you as the mother must work with your lawyer to show this and that equal timesharing is not in the child’s best interests due to these and any other factors.
Rights of a Mother in Florida in Married/Unmarried Situations
If a mother is married and decides to move forward with a divorce, the legal parents will typically work together to determine custody of their children. If they are unable to settle these matters, they will have to go to court so that a judge can help them decide what is best for the child. Unmarried mothers have natural custody and a father will need to establish paternity so that custody decisions can be made. If you are married and are seeking a divorce, the courts will consider that paternity is already established due to the marriage.
Making a Parenting Plan That Works for You
As a mother, you want to ensure that your child is safe and taken care of at all times. During a divorce, you will typically sit down with the father of your child to develop a parenting plan that works for both of you and keeps your child’s interests in mind. Your parenting plan will detail visitation and many other aspects, such as the following:
- How you will both care for your children
- Where the child will live most of the time
- When your child will see each parent
When making determinations of child custody, you will either share legal and physical custody or only one parent will have custody. Depending on the circumstances of your case, it may be in the child’s best interests for the mother to have shared or joint custody due to reasons like domestic violence, interference with custody, and more.
There are several types of parenting time orders that can come into play:
Scheduled: Mothers may find that having a set schedule helps them stay on track when it comes to determining where a child should be. Having a scheduled parenting order can help a mother determine when their child will be with their father and include holidays and special occasions.
Reasonable: A reasonable order means that two parents will work out custody matters amongst themselves. A mother may be able to come up with one of these plans with a father if they can work well together and be as flexible as possible.
Supervised: If there are concerns that the child will not be safe or well-off with one of the parents, the visits will be supervised by the other parent, another available adult, or an agency that protects children. This is viable in cases where domestic abuse was at play or a child has not seen their parent in a long time.
No Visitation: If a child will be too physically or emotionally affected by visits with the other parent, then visitation could be stopped altogether.
Contact a Florida Divorce Lawyer
It is important that you ensure that your child’s well-being and safety are top priority in the event of a divorce. As a mother, you want your child to have a relationship with both parents that works to their best interests and benefit.
If you are a mother going through divorce and you have questions, speaking with Robert Sparks Attorneys can ensure that your rights are being protected. We understand how difficult these times can be and we will stand by your side when you need our assistance the most. Please contact a Tampa divorce lawyer immediately for more information and to make sure your voice is always heard.