In Florida, divorced parents must have a Parenting Plan. Having a family lawyer in Naples that fully understands family law issues including parenting and time-sharing guidelines is an asset for all parents that are working through a divorce.

Long gone are the visitation schedules and the designations of “primary” and “secondary” residential parents. Our law firm has vast experience in Parenting and Custody issues and is able to offer clients legal advice depending on the individual case or situation. 

In 2023, the Florida Legislature changed how parenting time is determined. The legislature created a presumption in favor of equal parenting time, also known as 50/50 custody. What that means is that the Court will start from the premise that equal parenting time should be awarded, unless a party can prove to the Court that equal parenting time is not in the children’s best interest. This more equitable starting point is consistent with what was occurring in the psychological community as well.

Parenting And Time Sharing - Long & Associates

However, there may be circumstances where equal parenting time is not in the best interest of the child or children. In order to prove that a parent must demonstrate to the Court, by a preponderance of the evidence, that equal parenting time is not in the child’s best interest. It is a higher burden of proof and not easily met. If you argue with your spouse or he or she do not parent the same way you do, that will not be enough. If there is physical abuse, substance abuse, domestic violence that directly impacts the child, then you may be able to convince the Court that equal parenting time should not be awarded. The Court also must consider issues of domestic violence in every case.

Along with this presumption, the Court assesses your case by considering 22 custody factors which are set forth in Florida Stat. 61.13(3).

Two examples include “the demonstrated capacity and disposition of each parent to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing parent-child relationship” and “the demonstrated capacity of each parent to communicate with and keep the other parent informed of issues.”

At Long & Associates, P.A., we encourage our clients to communicate with their spouse in a healthy and constructive manner so that co-parenting skills are developed. The children benefit from parents working together for their children’s best interest.

Children are most positively affected when parents can put aside their differences and cooperate post-divorce on what their children need. Thus, we encourage parents to act civilly and respectfully with one another so they can make decisions for their children together with reduced conflict.

However, if parents cannot effectively communicate in making shared decisions for their children or if disputes arise on time-sharing schedules, our parenting and time-sharing attorneys in Naples will zealously advocate on our client’s behalf so the court can determine what is in the best interest of the children.

Our family attorneys are well-versed in advocating children’s issues in the courtroom for temporary hearings and at trial. We have also had numerous experiences in Naples and throughout Florida working with parenting evaluators, counselors, guardian ad litems, and others.

Your children and the impact the litigation has on them are at the forefront of every case. Our attorneys use Parenting Plans to address the most important issues you see affecting your children during this most difficult time, while individually crafting agreements to provide direction and resolutions to disputes that impact your children’s lives into adulthood.

Our Parenting Plans also focus on how decisions are made for your children’s benefit including the decision-making authority of both parents regarding important aspects of their lives, such as medical/dental care, and education. The majority of custody cases are concluded with each parent having equal decision-making authority about major decisions impacting your child(ren)’s life.

There are rare occasions when Sole Parental Responsibility or Ultimate Decision-Making Authority is granted by the Court, but there is a heavy burden of proof that must first be met. In those instances, the Court could award one parent either sole-decision-making authority, or he or she is granted authority to make the final decision on an issue regarding your children.

If you have any questions about your children’s future, including the child’s custody and the impact of the divorce on their lives, please contact our family attorneys in Naples so that we may discuss them with you and formulate the best plan of action to protect them.

If you are looking for the best parenting and time-sharing lawyers in Naples, Long & Associates is ready to help you navigate through all of your family law issues.

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Friday: 9 AM to 3 PM