As this recent story out of Washington State shows, the emotions involved with parents and their children can rise to dangerous levels when custody is at issue.
Our Palm Beach Divorce Lawyers find that the best way to avoid disaster in divorce and family law cases is for parents to make an active effort to work with their other spouse to come to a reasonable arrangement for how they will share time and parental responsibility with their children. Oftentimes, when parents are not seeing “eye to eye”, it can be helpful for parents to work with a marriage and family therapist/counselor to discuss their concerns with respect to their children following divorce. In many cases, a counselor or therapist can help divorcing parents realize why certain parenting issues are important to the other spouse, which can make it easier for parents to come up with fair arrangements that address each of their concerns.
Also, parents should keep in mind that Florida’s public policy on child custody and parental responsibility 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 to encourage parents to share the rights and responsibilities, and joys, of childrearing. There is no presumption for or against the father or mother of the child or for or against any specific time-sharing schedule when creating or modifying the parenting plan of the child.” See Section 61.13(2)(c)(1), Florida Statutes.
If the parties cannot agree, in most cases the court will be setting a schedule that allows each parent significant access to their children but skips the “personalized” details that parents can have added to a parenting plan that is reached through an out of court settlement. It makes the most sense for parents to reach compromises with their spouse on parenting issues early on before tensions rise, money is spent, and, in the worst case scenario, a judge develops a parenting plan that ignores important concerns of each parent.