Parenting Plans and Time-Sharing

The State of Florida views mothers and fathers as having equal rights to their children so that neither has superior rights regardless of the children's age or gender. The court's primary consideration when ordering a parenting plan (parental responsibility) and time-sharing schedule for the child is the best interest of the child. To determine the best interest of the child, the court considers each parent’s demonstrated capacity and disposition to:

  • Facilitate and encourage a close and continuing parent-child relationship, to honor the time-sharing schedule, and to be reasonable when changes are required.
  • Determine, consider and act upon the needs of the child as opposed to the needs or desires of the parent.
  • Provide a consistent routine for the child, such as discipline, and daily schedules for homework, meals, and bedtime.
  • Participate and be involved in the child’s school and extra-curricular activities.
  • Maintain an environment for the child which is free from substance abuse.
  • The geographic viability of the parenting plan, with special attention paid to the needs of school-age children and the amount of time to be spent traveling to effectuate the parenting plan. This factor does not create a presumption for or against relocation of either parent with a child.
  • Length of time the child has lived in a stable, satisfactory environment and the desirability of maintaining continuity.
  • The particular parenting tasks customarily performed by each parent and the division of parental responsibilities before the institution of litigation and during the pending litigation, including the extent to which parenting responsibilities were undertaken by third parties.
  • Each parent’s demonstrated capacity to communicate with and keep the other parent informed of issues and activities regarding the minor child, and the willingness of each parent to adopt a unified front on all major issues when dealing with the child.
  • Each parent’s demonstrated knowledge, capacity and disposition to be informed of the circumstances of the minor child, including but not limited to, the child’s friends, teachers, medical care providers, daily activities and favorite things.
  • The developmental stages and needs of the child and the demonstrated capacity and disposition of each parent to meet the child’s developmental needs.
  • Each parent’s capacity and disposition to protect the child from the ongoing litigation as demonstrated by not discussing the litigation with the child, not sharing documents or electronic media related to the litigation with the child, and refraining from disparaging comments about the other parent to the child.
  • The anticipated division of parental responsibilities after the litigation, including the extent to which parental responsibilities will be delegated to third parties.
  • The moral fitness of the parents.
  • The mental and physical health of the parents.
  • The home, school and community record of the child.
  • The reasonable preference of the child, if the court deems the child to be of sufficient intelligence, understanding and experience to express a preference.
  • Evidence of domestic violence, sexual violence, child abuse, child abandonment, or child neglect, regardless of whether a prior or pending action relating to those issues has been brought.
  • Evidence that any party has knowingly provided false information to the court regarding any prior or pending action regarding domestic violence, sexual violence, child abuse, child abandonment, or child neglect.
  • Any other factor considered by the court to be relevant.
What is Parental Alienation?

Parental alienation is a mental condition in which a child, usually one whose parents are involved in a high-conflict separation or divorce, allies himself or herself strongly with the alienating parent and rejects a relationship with the “target” parent without legitimate justification. Parental alienation may occur during the course of a dissolution of marriage action or paternity action.

Parental alienation occurs when one parent convinces the child and/or children that the other parent is not trustworthy, lovable, or caring. These behaviors can negatively affect the “target” parent’s time-sharing and often damage and impede the child’s relationships with "target" parent's family members.

When courts find evidence of parental alienation or estrangement, counseling is often recommended among other therapeutic tools. The court's primary goal is to promote the best interest of the child.

The Law Offices of Christy L. Hertz, P.A., can provide legal guidance to parents dealing with issues pertaining to parental alienation.

Please contact us either online or by telephone at 305.444.3323. We will schedule a consultation with you so we can discuss how we can help.