Parenting Plans, Custody, & Child Support

Divorce is a very confusing time for minor children. The court’s primary concern is for their well-being as they transition into a new family arrangement. The stressors of divorce are unique to each family. Children can be affected emotionally, psychologically, and developmentally by their parents’ divorce. It is in a child’s best interests to have both parents remain an integral part of their life. There are exceptions in instances where spending time with a parent would be detrimental to a child. Negative consequences from a divorce can affect children in ways that can last a lifetime.

Child Custody and Visitation

Florida law does not give preference to either parent regarding custody orders. The decision of the court is always based on the best interests of the child. Some of the factors that are considered in determining child custody and visitation, also known as timesharing, are:

Florida law refers to child custody and visitation as timesharing, which is part of a parenting plan. Parents engaged in a divorce must submit a parenting plan to the court as part of their divorce agreement. A judge can approve the parenting plan or make changes if they feel it is in the child’s best interests. A parenting plan includes a schedule for sharing parental responsibilities. Examples are how the parents will communicate regarding the child’s needs and assigning a designated parent to oversee educational and health matters. In addition, it addresses a residential schedule, a visitation schedule, alternative schedules for school vacations, transportation arrangements for the child, and many other relevant factors.

Child Support

Child support is the responsibility of every parent in Florida, whether they are divorced or never married. Every parent has a legal and moral duty to support his or her child. When a divorce is filed, or paternity is established, a parent can file a petition to establish child support. Florida’s Child Support Guidelines guide the payment amount. The main factors in determining the amount of child support are the monthly incomes of both parents and the number of overnight visits a child has with each parent. Child support payments are intended to provide a standard of living for a child. It includes food, clothing, educational expenses, medical costs, activities, and other child’s needs.

Both parents need to read a parenting plan and child support orders carefully to be fully aware of the court orders. Failure to comply with these documents places the offender at risk of being held in contempt of court. There may even be criminal charges if they are willfully non-compliant.

Our Legal Team is here to help you achieve a Fair Resolution

When a parent cannot meet the terms of the parenting plan or child support orders, it is critical to speak to an experienced family law attorney. At Downer Law, we can explain your options for modifying the parenting plan or child support order. Grounds for a modification may be a loss of income, a relocation, illness or injury, or many other factors. At our law firm, we assist with gathering evidence, filing the appropriate paperwork, and presenting the facts accurately in a formal hearing in front of a judge.

Contact Downer Law to schedule an appointment at our office.

We represent clients in Volusia, Seminole, and Orange county.

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