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Co-parenting in the aftermath of a divorce, separation, or break-up can be very challenging, causing you to think about and plan things in a way that may feel strange and awkward. By creating a guidebook—called a parenting plan—about your intentions regarding the logistics of raising a child with your ex, you can help limit the potential for miscommunication and conflict along the way. Because this is such a personal topic and is an area where people often run into difficulties, teaming up with a Miramar Beach child custody lawyer may be in your best interest.

Emmanuel Sheppard & Condon has skillfully assisted individuals and families through complex domestic matters for decades. We understand the kinds of dilemmas that a family may face as they move through a significant change, like a divorce or separation. Our team of compassionate family attorneys understands the vulnerability you may be feeling in this unfamiliar situation, and we are here to help you through it by providing personalized legal services.

What Are the Different Custody Options in Florida?

As discussed in Florida Statutes § 61.13, Florida no longer uses the term custody; instead, the courts talk about parental responsibility and time-sharing of the children. Parental responsibility refers to all the different aspects of childrearing, such as:

  • Food
  • Housing
  • Clothing
  • Schooling
  • Healthcare
  • Disciplinary matters

Time-sharing encompasses who has the child, when, and for how long.

In most situations, the court’s preference may be for both parents to enjoy equal time-sharing as far as who the child stays with on an ongoing basis. To accomplish this, the parents may alternate who houses the children from one week to the next. Alternatively, the children may stay with each parent an equal amount of time throughout the year, but instead of going from one house to the next throughout the year, the children may stay with one parent during the school year and the other during summer, spring, and winter breaks, for example.

Ultimately, the judge’s goal is usually to craft a parenting time configuration that fosters a healthy, supportive environment for the children to grow, develop, and mature while maintaining a relationship with both parents. However, if there are safety concerns in either home or if one parent is unable to fully care for the children, the court may decide to scale back on parental responsibility or time-sharing. If you have questions about what your options are as a parent in Miramar Beach, consult a reputable child custody attorney.

How Does the Court Make Custody Decisions?

When deciding who the children should stay with and who should participate in important childrearing matters, the judge will look to the children’s best interest. As part of this analysis, the courts might consider:

  • The child’s age
  • The child’s maturity level
  • The child’s relationship with either parent
  • How moving might impact the child psychologically, socially, and physically

For example, suppose the child has a history of behavioral and mental health issues from frequent moves or significant changes in the past. In that case, it may be wise not to disrupt their routine too much in the present situation.

Other factors the court may look to include:

  • Drug or alcohol abuse
  • Abuse or neglect in the home
  • The presence (or absence) of domestic violence

A knowledgeable lawyer in Miramar Beach can help you determine what child custody arrangement makes the most sense given your family’s dynamic and assist you by taking steps to craft and negotiate a parenting plan that aligns with this.

Get in Touch With a Child Custody Attorney in Miramar Beach for Help Understanding Your Rights as a Parent

Creating an effective parenting plan helps to set you, your children, and your family up for success as you move through this new normal in the wake of a separation or breakdown of a marriage. The plan should reflect what is best for your children—taking into account their age, developmental stage, and safety—and discuss things like who the children will stay with primarily and how you and your ex will make important childrearing decisions.

Emmanuel Sheppard & Condon can help you and your family craft an effective and responsive parenting plan that accomplishes your goals and aligns with your children’s best interests. Get in touch with our team of qualified legal professionals today to schedule a no-obligation consultation with a Miramar Beach child custody lawyer.