When Florida parents create parenting plans dividing responsibilities, they have to set specific terms for time-sharing obligations. Parents who cannot work out the details on their own will have to go to court.
When a judge has to make some of those decisions, their main focus will be what is in the best interests of the children. Everyone may have their own idea about what is best for a child, and the chances are good that you and your ex may not completely agree on how to raise your children now that you will do so separately.
How do judges determine the best interests of children for time-sharing matters?
The courts put the kids first, not the parents
The simplest way to understand the best interests standard is that the courts want to do what is best for the children, regardless of what the parents might want. You need to adjust your approach accordingly or risk hurting your case.
When a judge tries to figure out what would be in a child’s best interest, they look at numerous details about the family’s circumstances. It is common for one parent to spend more time with the children and to have a stronger bond with them, which a judge will consider. They will think about the age of the children and possibly their preferences, as well as the occupation of each parent, their health and ability to provide for the kids.
However, there is typically a presumption that time-sharing that gives parents access to the children is the best arrangement when parents separate. If you want your parenting plan to deviate from this, you will need a compelling reason focused on the children to convince a judge to limit or eliminate your ex’s parenting time.
A hostile attitude could affect your rights
Most judges feel strongly that it is in the best interests of children for parents to cooperate, so if they see a parent being belligerent or deprecating the other, they may punish that parent in their final custody ruling.
Keeping the focus on your children can help you maintain control over your emotions and consistently put them first while adjusting to co-parenting in Florida. A positive attitude about working with your ex can improve your chances of a favorable parenting plan.