Best Interests of the Child and Collaborative Divorce in Orlando, Florida

Best Interests of the Child

When it comes to questions of child custody and parental responsibility, many agree that collaborative divorce is often the best option for families trying to make decisions about time-sharing, and when it comes to resolving how to best make decisions for the best interests of their children. Why is collaborative divorce often the best option when making child time-sharing and responsibility decisions? When couples cannot agree about child issues and take their case before a judge, there is always the risk that the judge will make a decision that neither parent wants. Parents tend to know what is best for their children, and collaborative divorce allows both you and your former spouse to resolve your disagreements outside of court, with the assistance of your lawyer. The Aikin Family Law Group is a collaborative divorce lawyer who can assist you in finding a child custody resolution in Orlando, Florida that is best for your family.

When child custody battles are taken to court, the courts use a standard known as the best interests of the child standard when making decisions about child custody. These standards aren’t strict and clear-cut rules, but rather general guidelines that judges can use to make decisions. It can be difficult to predict how a given judge might apply these principles to your specific case. This is yet another reason why families often choose to use collaborative divorce when making child custody decisions, rather than taking their cases to court. The Aikin Family Law Group can help you understand what the best interests of the child standards are, how the courts may interpret these provisions in your given situation, and assist you with finding a fair resolution in your parenting plan. Contact the collaborative divorce lawyers at the Aikin Family Law Group in Orlando, Florida today to begin the process of drafting a parenting plan for you and your family.

Florida’s Best Interest of the Child Standards: What You Need to Know

When helping divorcing couples navigate the process of drafting a parenting plan, making decisions about child responsibility and time-sharing, and outlining how major decisions for the children will be made, The Aikin Family Law Group will use Florida’s best interests of the child guidelines. These guidelines are general principles. In general, parents often know what is best for their children. What are the best interests of the child standards? Under Florida law, different factors may be used to determine what might be in the best interests of the child in a given circumstance. What are these factors?

  1. The ability of each parent to foster a relationship with the other parent will be considered. The courts tend to favor that children have a relationship with both parents. The parent who is most willing to support and honor visitation time and the parent who is most able to honor the spirit of the parenting plan will likely be favored for custody.
  2. Each parent’s ability to carry out parental responsibilities and the extent to which each parent may need assistance from childcare or other family members must also be considered.
  3. Each parent’s ability to serve the physical, emotional, and mental health needs of the child must be weighed when making child custody decisions.
  4. Considerations about stability of the child’s home and school environment will be considered. The parent who is able to keep the child in the same school, community, or home may be favored, in this case.
  5. Where each parent lives and how long it will take to travel for visitation must be factored when parents are making arrangements for visitation. Parenting plans need to consider reasonable logistics. When two parents live close together, weekly visitation may be reasonable and required, but when two parents live hundreds of miles apart, monthly or yearly visitation may be more reasonable.
  6. Moral decisions each parent has made in the past may factor into who gets custody.
  7. Where the child has lived, gone to school, and which communities the child is a part of will also be considered when making decisions to maintain a stable life for the child.
  8. Each parent’s mental and physical health will be considered.
  9. The child’s wishes will be considered, if the child is old enough.
  10. The parent who has been most involved in the child’s life will also often get preference. Which parent knows about the child’s school records and which parent has been in charge of the child’s medical care?
  11. The parent who can provide a stable routine and life for the child may receive preference for custody.
  12. Which parent has the best ability to communicate with the other parent about the child’s needs? This parent may receive preference for custody.
  13. If one parent has committed acts of domestic violence, child abuse, sexual violence, child abandonment, or neglect, this may reflect unfavorably on this parent when child custody decisions are being made.
  14. However, if a parent falsely accuses another parent of domestic violence or sexual abuse, this can also reflect unfavorably on the parent lying to the court. Evidence must be provided for any claims of violence.
  15. A review of parental responsibilities as they were divided before the divorce or separation, must be considered. Generally, the courts look to maintain stability. As much as possible, keeping these parental responsibilities the same should be preserved.
  16. The ability of each parent to be involved in the children’s school and extracurricular activities will also be considered.
  17. The ability of each parent to provide a home free of substance abuse and use will also be considered.
  18. The child’s individual developmental needs must be considered and the parent’s ability to provide for these needs will be considered.
  19. The willingness of each parent to accept the parenting plan arrangement will be factored into the custody plan. The courts generally want to protect the children from ongoing litigation regarding parenting time or custody.
  20. Other factors may be considered as they become relevant.

These are just some of the things that must be considered when drafting a parenting plan. If you have minor children and are getting divorced in Orlando, Florida, you will be required to submit a parenting plan to the court. In order for the plan to be accepted, it must include provisions regarding which parent will have custody of the child, provisions for how visitation and time-sharing will be arranged, and provisions for how major decisions will be made for the children. The Aikin Family Law Group are Orlando, Florida collaborative divorce lawyers who may be able to assist you with developing a parenting plan that is best for your children. Contact our firm today to learn more.

Develop a Parenting Plan With Collaborative Divorce

It can be very difficult to change a parenting plan once one has been approved by the court. This is why it is very important to get your parenting plan right the first time around. This means drafting a plan that will be sufficiently flexible to consider the changing needs of a growing child and changing family. The Aikin Family Law Group are Orlando, Florida collaborative divorce lawyers who understand the unique challenges families face as they work together to create a parenting plan that works. Our firm understands that couples won’t often agree on everything. That’s why we use collaborative divorce strategies and negotiation to help you find a resolution that is fair and that considers the best interest of your children.

Why The Aikin Family Law Group?

Our lawyers are leaders in conflict resolution, known for helping families restructure and regain strength while protecting children and their financial futures. We have created an office culture that offers comfort and stability to clients who are facing some of the most difficult decisions of their lives.