To make child custody and timesharing as fair as possible for parents and children, in 2008, Florida enacted the Shared Parental Responsibility Act, which decides which parent can better care for the children. Without any bias in favor of or against either parent, the goal with this law is for the parents to focus on devising a parenting plan that establishes how decisions will be made and how time will be spent with the children. This act also essentially eliminates terms such as “custodial/noncustodial parent” and “primary residential parent,” and it requires both parties to submit the parenting plan they jointly create to a court for approval.
If the parents cannot reach an agreement on a parenting plan, then the plan decision goes to the court, which considers several factors with the children’s best interest in mind. Some of these factors include
- Each parent’s demonstrated capacity to develop and encourage a close relationship with the children, respect the timesharing schedule, and maintain civility and reasonableness when changes are necessary
- Each parent’s demonstrated capacity to identify, consider, and address the needs of the children before their own desires or needs
- Each parent’s demonstrated capacity to regularly communicate with the other parent on matters and activities regarding their minor children
- Each parent’s physical and mental health
- Each parent’s moral fitness
Ann Goade works with clients to help them create viable parenting plans that cover crucial areas of decision making and timesharing of children, with efforts to have both parents exercise their rights and obligations in creating a successful plan, which ultimately results in a winning outcome for the children.