Shared parenting or joint custody is one option for Florida parents who are getting a divorce. A judge may take a number of factors into consideration in deciding whether to grant shared parenting. For example, if the parents live too far apart, such an arrangement might not be in the best interests of the child. Other reasons might be because of concerns about neglect, abuse or the possibility of parental kidnapping.
Shared parenting can help children adjust in a divorce, but it is important that parents do not drag their conflicts into relationships with their children. Parents may want to work with a mediator to create a parenting plan. Shared parenting does not necessarily mean the child will spend exactly half time with each parent. Parents may divide up responsibilities in a way that seems reasonable to them based on their situation and their child's needs.
Parents should make an effort to work out most of their issues before submitting a parenting plan to a judge for approval. In addition to demonstrating to the judge that they are ready for this arrangement, it may also help them avoid future conflicts. The parenting plan should include a detailed plan for the time the child will spend with both parents, including holidays and vacations.
The state of Florida emphasizes the importance of co-parenting. If the divorce is a high-conflict one, parents may want to talk to their attorneys about strategies for negotiating an agreement. As part of the parenting plan, they might want to include an agreement for conflict resolution. Judges usually do not want to see parents in family law court every time they have a disagreement, and parents might agree to return to mediation if they cannot reach a solution. However, modifications in child custody or support may require returning to court.