Divorcing parents with children often fear what child custody and parenting life will look like after divorce.
Let's face it. Even if you and your spouse have made the wise choice to divorce with respect and cooperation, the very structure of your daily lives and the lives of your children is certain to change. And change is inconvenient and yes, it's scary most of the time for most people.
Things will not be the same. And that change will most likely include the amount of time you spend with your children. It's the reality of divorce. And this reality is one that strikes terror in the hearts of many parents who don't believe their spouse is capable of child rearing in the manner in which they believe it should be done.
When children are living in two different households, the same control with which you've become accustomed, is gone. Again, it's the reality of divorce and child custody.
But, please take heart that Florida does have the best interests of your child embedded in our State statutes.
Child Custody and Parenting After Divorce - Florida Law
The guiding principle in our Florida Statutes (Section 61.13(2)(a)1) is "that each minor child has frequent and continuing contact with both parents after the parents separate or the marriage of the parties is dissolved" and that parents should be encouraged "to share the rights and responsibilities, and joys, of childrearing."
With that said, there are 20 non-exclusive factors the Court can consider in deciding how time-sharing (visitation) will look for your particular situation. When you and your lawyer can't come to a negotiated resolution with your spouse regarding time-sharing (which is included in a document called a "parenting plan"), the Judge will decide things for you. And these and other factors can be considered when making the decision.
Becoming educated about your rights, duties, and responsibilities is one of the best ways to help alleviate the anxiety a parent can have about child custody during divorce and as an Orlando divorce lawyer, I can help you with this. As such, you may be tempted to reach out to well-meaning friends and family for information regarding your situation. You may be researching on the internet. Please be aware that the information you receive from non-lawyers about time-sharing, parenting plans, and child support is usually, at best, only partly correct and situation-specific, and at worst, downright fiction.
Badmouthing The Other Parent
You might be tempted to do this or maybe your child's other parent is doing this to you. No matter how tempting it might be to tell your child about everything that is wrong with their other parent, don't do it.
Your child needs a sense of security and safety from their parents. Bad mouthing the other parent in front of your child causes signification disruption to their feeling of security and safety. Your child should not be treated like a pawn or a negotiating chip that is to be used to get revenge against the other parent. Rather, focus your efforts on providing what your child needs...strong, capable, secure parents.
Keep The Status Quo
Custody and Parenting after divorce should look substantially similar to what it looked like before the divorce. Your children did not divorce. They are not the ones who can't live with or be married to the other parent. Children need stability. So, the more you can maintain the status quo regarding how you parent your children, the better your children will be.