Custody and Visitation Options for Parents

Child custody and visitation rights are highly sensitive topics for divorcing parents. It can be heartbreaking for a divorcing parent to realize that he or she will no longer spend as much time with a child. However, Tampa divorce attorneys can help parents ensure that they will still have custody and/or visitation rights, and that the custody arrangement is in the best interests of the children. If you're planning to consult a divorce attorney, be sure to write down a list of questions you may have about child custody agreements under Florida law.

Sole Custody

In Florida, the court system has begun to lessen its usage of the term "custody" to describe arrangements for children following divorce. Instead, the court might use a term such as "sole or shared parental responsibility." Essentially, however, these terms mean the same thing as custody. If your divorce attorney argues that you should have sole custody of the children, it means that the children will live with you and that you will have all of the responsibility for making decisions for them. Sole custody is generally awarded in cases that involve domestic violence, drug abuse, child neglect, and similar problems. If the judge determines that continuing a parent-child relationship with the ex-spouse would harm the children, that parent may order that the ex-spouse will not receive any visitation rights.

Joint Custody

As your lawyer can explain to you, the courts commonly award joint custody to parents when it's in the best interests of the children. Joint custody means that you and your ex-spouse will share responsibility for making decisions for the children. Cooperation is essential and a co-parenting plan is recommended. A joint custody agreement necessitates a time-sharing schedule, or a visitation agreement.

Time-Sharing Schedule

A time-sharing schedule spells out exactly when the children will be with one parent or the other. The children may live primarily with one parent and have visitation rights with the other. Or, the parents might share time equally with the children. For example, the children might live with one parent for the first and third weeks of the month, and with the other parent for the alternating weeks.

Categories: Child Custody

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