What are my Child Visitation Rights after a Divorce in Florida?
Going through a divorce is difficult enough without also taking into account the potential impact that it could have on your children and your ability to spend time with them. There is a significant amount of debate amongst everyone involved—from policymakers, to judges and mental health professionals—on what is best for children. As a result, it is crucial that you educate yourself about Florida state child visitation laws and regulations so that you are prepared to do what’s best to protect you and your family—both by doing the research, and working with an experienced family law attorney.
The Law in Florida on Child Visitation
As in other states, the primary consideration of the law in Florida is what is in the best interest of the child. After divorce, parents in Florida come up with a parenting plan which includes a time-sharing schedule, and that schedule governs each parent’s relationship with the minor child. Once established, the determination or schedule cannot be modified without a showing of substantial, material, and unanticipated change in circumstances (as well as a determination that the modification is in the best interests of the child, of course).
But how does the law specifically determine what is in the best interest of the child? State statute evaluates a variety of factors deemed to be important to the welfare and interests of the child and the circumstances of that family, including but not limited to:
- The demonstrated capacity and disposition of each parent to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing parent-child relationship, honor the time-sharing schedule, be reasonable when changes are required, stay informed of the circumstances of the child (such as their friends, teachers, medical needs, activities, etc.), provide a consistent routine for the child, communicate with and keep the other parent informed, etc.;
- The anticipated division of parental responsibilities after litigation;
- The demonstrated capacity and disposition of each parent to determine and act upon the needs of the child (as opposed to their own);
- The anticipated division of parental responsibilities after litigation (including any delegation of parental responsibilities to third parties);
- The length of time the child has spent in a stable, satisfactory environment (and the desire to remain in that environment);
- The geographic viability of the parenting plan (with special attention to the needs of the child and traveling times);
- The moral fitness and physical/mental health of the parents;
- The home, school, and community record of the child;
- (If applicable) the reasonable preference of the child;
- Any evidence of domestic violence, sexual violence, child abuse, abandonment, or neglect;
- The ability of the parent(s) to maintain an environment for the child which is free of substance abuse; and
- Any other factor that is relevant to the determination of the parenting plan.
Florida Divorce & Child Custody/Visitation Attorneys
Whether you are simply contemplating divorce or are concerned about child custody and visitation rights, we can help. The attorneys at HD Law Partners are experienced timesharing and parenting plan attorneys who both understand the complexities and difficulties involved in family and divorce law, but at the same time, fight aggressively for our clients’ rights. We regularly work with families in Orlando, Sarasota, and Tampa to ensure that their best interests are protected. Contact us today to find out how we can help.