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Florida Legal Blog

The holidays season after divorce for parents and children

When Florida parents go through a divorce or a separation, the holidays can be hard for them and their children. All of them may be feeling any number of emotions that could include anger, sadness, loss and betrayal. However, parents need to set those emotions aside so they can concentrate on their children and make sure their holidays are happy.

Family and friends or professionals, such as therapists, can help parents work through their emotions at this time so they do not direct them at their ex-spouse. It is important that instead of trying to punish the other parent by keeping the children away during the holidays, parents encourage children to enjoy themselves with that parent.

Divorcing parents consider new take on joint custody

When Florida parents consider divorce, they may be concerned about how the end of their marriage will affect their children. Joint or shared custody is an increasingly popular solution for families and within the legal system. In most cases, children travel between their parents' homes on a regular basis, and their parents share responsibility for and time with the children. However, the transitional period immediately after the divorce can be a harsh adjustment, especially if a move for both parents could mean changing schools in the middle of the year.

As a result, many parents are looking for solutions that can help them ease the emotional and practical effects of divorce on the children. Some are opting for "birdnesting" as a form of joint custody that aims to disrupt the children's lives as little as possible. In this scenario, the kids remain in the family house while the exes move in and out, one week at a time. In general, the parents rotate in and out of a small apartment. This arrangement requires a great deal of communication, interaction and shared space, so it's best suited for people who are divorcing amicably.

Parents, visitation and temporary child custody

When Florida parents of minor children are ending their marriage, temporary child custody orders might be put in place. These may become permanent after the divorce is final. There are a number of other reasons temporary child custody orders might be necessary including when a parent is incapacitated, when a parent is financially unable to care for a child or when there have been abuse allegations against the parent.

Grandparents, godparents, cousins, family friends or other family members might get temporary custody of a child in these circumstances. Whoever has custody, the order will usually spell out a few important points. It will name where the child will live, how long the agreement will last and whether there are any financial arrangements associated with it. The temporary child custody agreement will also include visitation arrangements for the parent who does not have custody.

What custodial parents are responsible for

Custodial parents in Florida and across the United States serve as the primary caregiver to their children. However, they generally don't have the right to shut the noncustodial parent out of a child's life. A court may order that the noncustodial parent has visitation or other rights to the child. If a custodial parent wishes to take the child out of his or her home state, the noncustodial parent may need to be notified.

Updating the other parent on the whereabouts of the child may be necessary whether the parent is moving or simply going on vacation. In many cases, both parents are required to contribute for large medical or other necessary expenses involving a son or daughter. Prior to making a purchase or paying for medical care, the custodial parent should consult with the noncustodial parent. This is because it is imperative that the child grow up in a financially stable environment.

Child relocation in Florida

Divorcing with the added variable of a child always makes proceedings so much harder. You are facing the emotional, mental and maybe financial strains of divorce, while also knowing that your child is feeling similar stress. When the divorce is finally finalized, it may seem like the perfect time to get a fresh start in a new town. Don’t be too hasty, though, doing so may violate the law.

If you are planning to move as the custodial parent, odds are you will have to obtain permission to do so. This is a law based on Florida's relocation statue which states you must give notice to the other parent or petition court before moving a significant distance.

How to create a parenting plan that works best for your children

When going through a divorce, parents often get caught up in “winning” custody of their children. Experts caution that looking at custody this way suggests possession of your children is the goal. It also suggests a lack of focus on what is best for your children. When creating a parenting plan, you and your former partner need to come together and create a plan that puts your children’s needs first.

How parents determine reasonable visitation

Divorced Florida parents may be granted visitation rights to their children. If a judge says that a parent is entitled to reasonable visitation, it is a sign for both parents to create a plan on their own. This is ideal because it allows them to create a plan that meets their needs as well as the best interest of the child.

However, the custodial parent is the one with the leverage in such talks. This is because he or she is under no obligation to agree to any type of visitation plan. The only requirement is that the custodial parent not do anything out of spite or malice toward the noncustodial mother or father. Being unreasonable during such talks could result in a judge being less flexible toward that parent in the future. Working out a plan without a judge's help takes a reasonable level of communication between parents.

Tips for regaining child custody

One of the most upsetting experiences Florida parents can go through is losing custody of their children, whether this happens as a result of divorce or in some other circumstance. Children may be placed with the other parent, with relatives or even in foster care. However, there are things parents can do to try to regain custody of their children.

First, the parent must consider the situation objectively and work out why the judge believed denying custody was in the best interests of the child. This could be because someone said the parent was abusive or neglectful, because the parent violated a court order or for some other reason. The parent may want to work with an attorney to try to get access to the child again.

Planning for the school year after a divorce

Parents in Florida who decide to divorce may be concerned about how their decision to end their marriage could affect their children's education. Every new school year is accompanied by change and the excitement and apprehension that can surround it, and it also brings new teachers, classes and even friends. When parents have divorced before their kids go back to school, there are opportunities to bring these times of transition together in order to support the children and their academic achievement.

Parents and children can come together to make a plan for the year to come. They can discuss issues together like academics, grades and relationships with classmates. Even after a divorce, it can be important for both parents to sit down with the children to make some common goals. This way, parents can support their child's achievements and both can envision ways that they can help and assist during their parenting time.

How divorce impacts a child’s long-term behavior

Parents considering divorce are oftentimes concerned about how divorce will affect their children. Some unhappy couples stay together long after their marriage has died for their children’s sake. However, plenty of research has been conducted to analyze divorce and its impact on children’s behavior in various environments.

Children growing up in a once held-together home often have a difficult time adjusting to a parental split, especially when there is high-amounts of stress and hostility. A child’s emotional stability is damaged when parents distant themselves from their children through reduced affection, quality-time, and over punishing reactions.

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