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– Child Custody and Visitation –

Child Custody and Visitation

Issues that involves children residence and contact often cause the bitterest disputes – let the legal experience at the Eric Boles Law Firm work for you

Parental responsibility is the decision-making authority over a child. Florida law presumes that the parents will share parental responsibility unless the court finds that shared parental responsibility would be detrimental to the child(ren). Shared parental responsibility means the parties have equal decision making authority over the major decisions in their child(ren)’s live(s) including, but not limited to non-emergency medical care, religion, education, and other decisions unique to the family. Parental responsibility is separate and distinct from timesharing. Just because a child(ren) may spend more time with one parent does not mean that the parent with majority timesharing has greater decision-making authority than the other parent.

Parental Responsibility

In most cases, parental responsibility for making major decisions regarding the welfare (health, education, and religion) of a minor child will be shared by both parents. If parents can’t agree on these types of issues, a court will make the final decision for them. With respect to physical custody, courts prefer that both parents continue to be a part of their children’s lives. Although the court will designate one parent’s home as the primary residence of the child, the other parent is usually entitled to frequent and continuing contact with the child. The exception to this is where the court finds that visitation will not be in the child’s best interest.

Section 61.13(2)(c)(1), Florida Statutes, reads “It is the public policy of this state that each minor child has frequent and continuing contact with both parents after the parents separate or the marriage of the parties is dissolved and to encourage parents to share the rights and responsibilities, and joys, of childrearing. There is no presumption for or against the father or mother of the child or for or against any specific time-sharing schedule when creating or modifying the parenting plan of the child.”

Parenting Class

Section 61.21, Florida Statutes, requires all parents of minor child(ren) involved in a divorce to attend a state-

Family Law Sections

approved course to help them focus on what is in the best interests of their child(ren) before, during, and after resolution of their court case.

Section 61.21, Florida Statutes, requires the petitioner (person who filed the petition) to complete the course within 45 days of filing the petition and the responding party to complete the course within 45 days of, among other things, an order granting timesharing to or support from that party. Normally, each party to a divorce case must file proof of completion of the required class before a final judgment can be entered. A party’s failure to attend the class may result in the court sanctioning him/her.

A party who has completed the required course typically will send his/her original certificate of completion to his/her attorney who will file it with the court on the client’s behalf.

Contact a Florida Family Lawyer experienced in Child Custody and Visitation

Family law proceedings which involve issues of residence and contact often cause the bitterest disputes. While most parents cooperate when it comes to sharing their children and resort to mediation to settle a dispute, not all do. The experienced legal team at Eric Boles Law Firm in Tampa, Florida can counsel you on how to protect your child custody and visitation rights. For a consultation with an experienced Family Lawyer contact the Eric Boles Law Firm by completing the contact form (click here) or call (813) 933-7700. Let us help you with Child Custody and Visitation case!