People can experience a great deal of fear when it comes to family law issues like child custody and visitation. This fear can make people jump to conclusions or make assumptions about the situation and their rights that aren't necessarily true, and this can lead to some costly and avoidable missteps.
Being informed can be the greatest tool when it comes to sidestepping the complications that arise when people react out of fear. In this post, we will clear up a few of the more common misconceptions about child custody in Florida to help people more accurately assess their situation.
- Mothers are always awarded primary custody: Gone are the days when mothers were presumed to be ideal caretakers. Today, Florida courts presume that a child benefits most when he or she is able to have regular and ongoing contact with both parents. In most cases, both parents will be given parenting time unless such an arrangement would be detrimental to the child.
- The courts will side with whatever the child wants: Preference of the child is something that courts may consider when establishing a parenting plan. However, it is just one factor and in some cases, the courts may determine that the child is not able to appropriately express his or her preference.
- Parenting plans are vague and difficult to interpret: A comprehensive parenting plan can be the bedrock of any custody arrangement. These plans typically include clear details on parenting time and must be approved by the courts so as to minimize confusion.
- There is nothing I can do to change time-sharing arrangements: Having a parenting plan modified is an option for any parent who feels an existing plan no longer meets the needs of the child or the parents. However, it will be necessary to petition the courts based on substantial changes in circumstances.
Any legal matter involving child custody and parental rights has the potential to elicit a powerful emotional response from the people involved. Rather than be fueled solely by emotion, it can be crucial that parents across Florida consult an attorney who can advise them of their rights and provide a legal perspective of the situation and the options available.