Custody and Timesharing Issues For Children of Same Sex Marriages
Going through the breakup of a marriage is always painful, but particularly so if there are children involved. For same sex couples, while marriage is legally established giving them full legal rights, issues pertaining to child custody and timesharing can still present problems. While one may not be the biological parent of the child, the bond you have established still needs to be nurtured and protected. The best interests of the child are the court’s top priority, and both the laws governing children during divorce proceedings and the guidelines the court uses are designed with this in mind.
Laws Regarding Custody Matters in Florida
For children to thrive, it is in their best interests to form loving bonds with both parents. In support of this ideal, the court has shifted its attitude in determining child-related issues that arise in divorce. Instead of awarding custody to one parent in particular while the other gets visitation, the court now seeks to establish time sharing plans that enable both parents to be equally involved.
Under Section 63.13 of the Florida State Statutes, the court seeks timesharing arrangements unless it is determined that it is not in the child’s best interests. This means that both parents get to share time as well as the responsibilities of caring for and making decisions on behalf of the child, which include decisions on education, physical and mental health care, religious upbringing, and involvement in sports and other types of recreational activities. Unfortunately, these issues can get complicated if the parents have not legally adopted the child and only one partner is the biological parent.
Developing A Parenting Plan
Florida family court rules require a parenting plan be submitted to the court, describing in detail how time with the child and decision making responsibilities will be divided between each party. Under Florida parenting plans guidelines, factors the court will consider in approving these arrangements include the following:
- Time spent living with the parents;
- The level of involvement each has had with the child;
- Their ability to support a loving relationship between the child and the other parent;
- Their ability to fulfill the child’s physical, emotional, and developmental needs;
- The physical and mental health and moral fitness of each party;
- The ability each parent has in providing a consistent routine for the child;
- The living situation each parent is currently in;
- The presence of any evidence of domestic or child abuse or neglect;
- The preferences of the child themselves.
The above factors are major considerations in time sharing plans and, while one of the partners may not be the biological parent, evidence may show that the bond between them and the child in question is just as strong and well worth nurturing.
We Can Help You Today
If you are involved in a custody or timesharing dispute, contact Hancock & Associates, P.A. today. Our Florida child custody attorney provides the passionate, professional legal representation you need in these types of situations, using our legal knowledge and experience to help ensure your rights and interests are protected. With offices in Orlando and Tampa, we are available to assist you. Same day consultations are available.