Child custody and visitation present some of the most emotionally trying issues in the entire arena of family law.
To a parent going through a divorce, nothing is more important than the ability to take part in the child’s upbringing.
Visitation goes hand in hand with child custody in Florida. While judges generally prefer that the parties agree to what the visitation schedule will be they will step in and set the schedule if the parties cannot agree.
Mediation is often ordered by the judges as a means to help the parties agree to a workable visitation schedule, both temporarily while the child custody proceedings are underway, and permanently for after the proceedings have ended. Mediation costs are usually split equally by both parties. The results then become a binding agreement. Judges prefer that the parties come to the decisions on their own because then there is less likelihood of the need for a modification.
In Florida, it is public policy to ensure that children have frequent and continuing contact with both parents after parents separate or dissolve their marriage, or end their relationship. If parents cannot agree on a parenting plan for the children, the court will decide. The legal standard is always the child’s “best interest.” Child custody and visitation orders may be requested by either parent of a child. The evidence a court can consider includes psychological evaluations, social worker studies, witness testimony and the child’s preference if the child is age 12 or older. Proof of misconduct by one parent, such as adultery, alcohol or substance abuse or violence, can factor into the court’s decision.
If you are not the custodial parent, it means that your children live for the majority of time with the other parent, called the custodial or residential parent. Courts and judges want to grant the non-custodial parent-child visitation rights because they realize that it is important for each parent to have a significant presence in a child’s life. Contacting an experienced child visitation attorney, like Marcus E. Stein, is your best chance at securing your family’s rights.
When a court rules on visitation rights, often it will order “reasonable” visitation and let the parents determine where and when visitation will take place. This allows for the flexibility of the parents’ and children’s schedules. It also gives the parent with physical custody more control over the details – the dates, times, and duration of visits. Unfortunately, the custodial parent might abuse this power and restrict or prevent the non-custodial parent visitation attempts.
If you are the non-custodial parent and are not happy with the visitation arrangements you should contact an attorney for help in modifying the arrangements. If your child’s other parent interferes with your visitation rights, you can ask the court to modify the child custody and visitation arrangements, and even request a fixed schedule that will detail the times and places for visitation.
Marcus E. Stein provides solid representation to protect the best interest of your child, your financial interests, and your relationship with the co-parent. He is an experienced litigator and understands how to navigate the Florida family codes to achieve favorable outcomes for his clients. Contact us today to for a FREE consultation related to your child visitation rights.