What Are Children’s Rights in a Florida Divorce?
Divorce is an emotionally-draining experience for everyone, especially your children. Unfortunately, some parents may unintentionally ignore their children’s rights or put their interests above their children’s.
Under Florida law, even minor children have certain rights in a divorce, and you, as a parent, must protect your children’s rights during this stressful and challenging time.
A Child’s Rights in a Custody and Timesharing Case
In Florida, a child’s preference to live with one parent over the other may be taken into account depending on the child’s age, maturity, intelligence, and other factors. However, it is unlikely that the custody arrangement will be based solely on your child’s wishes.
Parenting time or timesharing arrangements in Florida are based on a child’s best interests. The judge determines the most suitable type of custody arrangement depending on what’s in the best interest of the child.
A Child’s Right to Have Continuing Relationship with Both Parents
According to Florida Statutes Section 61.13, a child must have “frequent and continuing contact with both parents.” Children in Florida have the right to maintain a loving relationship with both parents after their divorce or separation. However, if there is evidence that one parent is guilty of child abuse, neglect, endangerment, or domestic violence, the judge may award little to no custody rights to the abusive parent.
In order to protect your child’s right to have a continuing relationship with both parents, it is important to keep your child out of the divorce and avoid saying bad things about the other parent in front of your children.
A Child’s Right to Have Their Needs Met
In Florida, both parents are required to negotiate a parenting plan that outlines all arrangements regarding their children. When developing a parenting plan, make sure that your child’s needs are met. It is important to keep your child’s needs and schedule in mind when negotiating a parenting plan.
Also, it is vital to ensure that a child has a private room at each parent’s home. It may be a good idea to be represented by an Orlando child custody attorney to ensure that you do not overlook your child’s needs when creating a parenting plan.
A Child’s Right to Spend Time with Their Parent
No matter how you feel about the other parent, it is never a good idea to discourage your child from spending time with your ex-spouse when it is their turn to have the kids. It is also a bad idea to make disrespectful or disparaging comments about your former spouse in front of your child to make them want to spend less time with the other parent.
Doing so could be deemed “parental alienation” and could give your ex-spouse an excuse to request a modification of the existing child custody order.
Speak with our Orlando divorce attorney at the Law Offices of Steve W. Marsee, P.A., to make sure that all of your child’s rights are respected throughout the divorce process. Call at 407-521-7171 to get a consultation about your particular case.