Visitation Rights

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Parenting Plans

Florida has recently revamped its child custody laws, moving away from the traditional idea of primary residential custody. The 2008 revisions to the law emphasizes a friendlier approach to child custody and timesharing, with both parties creating a parenting plan that promotes everybody’s interests.

We invite you to contact us by telephone at 561‑961-4665 or via e‑mail to schedule a confidential consultation with attorney Andrew Smith about parenting plans and child custody. We also offer a low-cost initial consultation.

Protecting Your Right to Share Time with your Children

When you and your spouse establish a parenting plan, you are deciding who is responsible for providing the day‑to‑day needs of the children, and on what days. Both parents typically share legal custody (called parental responsibility) in Florida, so both can make decisions about the children’s school, health care and religious training.

The ideal parenting plan is flexible, yet fair. If it is well written, it will serve the best interests of your family for a long time to come. Attorney Andrew Smith spends a great deal of time with clients to make sure they understand how divorce and child custody laws affect them and their individual situations.

In creating a parenting plan, you are outlining a time‑sharing schedule for both parents, which should include the following:

  • Observing holidays such as Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and birthdays
  • Upcoming school vacations, summer breaks and scheduled social activities
  • Agreed‑upon times for picking up and dropping off
  • Methods of communication between the children and the parents
  • Methods of communication between the parents to consult upon and discuss child‑related issues
  • Which parent’s address will be used for school district purposes

Since both parents usually share legal custody, it is helpful to include provisions regarding access to medical records in the parenting plan, as well as school records and access to the children’s teachers.

Order through the Court

If both parents cannot agree on a parenting plan, the court will establish one for you based on the evidence at trial. The court does not know your children as well as you do, so the inability to settle these issues outside of the courtroom gives the parties less of control over creating a customized plan that reflects the family’s lifestyle and unique preferences.

Attorney Andrew M. Smith can advise you on time sharing strategies that reduce the need for future modification. For seasoned counsel on parenting plans, contact Mr. Smith.

The hiring of a Florida lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely upon advertisements. Before you decide, ask us to send you free written information about our qualifications and experience. This web site is designed for general information only. The information presented at this site should not be construed to be formal legal advice or the formation of an attorney/client relationship.

Can I refuse visitation if my ex-spouse fails to pay child support?
No. You cannot refuse visitation, if it has been ordered by the Court, because your ex-spouse has failed to pay child support. The failure of a party to follow a court order should be brought to the attention of the Court. Therefore, if your ex-spouse violates a court order to pay child support, that issue should be brought to the Court’s attention.
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There has been an order of child support in my case, but my circumstances have changed. Is it possible to have the child support order modified?
The Court will look at a change in circumstances of the parties through a petition to modify support. If there has been a substantial change in circumstances since the original order, the Court may modify the order, based on those changed circumstances.
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My spouse has always controlled our finances. He/She makes the money and I don’t have access to funds to pay for an attorney. What do I do?
Most attorneys require an initial retainer before they will start working on your case. Many attorneys accept credit cards. Once the case reaches the court system, the Court may require your spouse to pay for your attorney’s fees.
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What is mediation?
Mediation is a process where the two parties get together and attempt to negotiate a settlement between the two, rather than having the judge make the final decision. Mediation can save time, money and misery. A settlement is not required, however, simply because you agree to mediate.
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How is marital property divided in Florida?
As a general rule, in the state of Florida, property acquired during the marriage is split evenly, despite whose name the property is in. With any general rule, there are exceptions. The courts can change the percentage depending on the parties’ specific circumstances.
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What if my spouse is hiding or misrepresenting his assets?
Each party must sign a sworn financial affidavit. If your spouse is hiding or misrepresenting his assets, you may be entitled to compensation relating to those hidden assets.
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