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Understanding Parenting Plans in Florida

People who are getting divorced can find themselves consumed by the process. Every emotion or decision can be motivated by the fact that their marriage is ending and their lives are about to change considerably. However, as common as this can be, parents who are divorcing need to remember that a divorce isn't just affecting them; it is also affecting their children.

Children can have their worlds turned upside down when their parents divorce. They typically may not know where they will live, when they will see their parents or even how they really feel about the situation. Divorce is a big change, and people -- including moms and dads -- don't have all the answers right away. However, having legal support can help parents find the answers they and their children need.

For example, one of the biggest concerns that families have during a divorce is who will have custody over the children. Too many people make the mistake of assuming that they will be able to get full custody or lose it entirely to their ex. But the fact of the matter is that Florida courts will make a ruling on custody based on what is best for the child.

In many cases, this means that the court will favor an arrangement that allows a child to have "frequent and continuing contact with both parents," which essentially means that most parenting plans will be of a joint nature.

Of course there are situations when it is not in the best interests of a child to spend substantial amounts of time with one parent. For instance, if a parent has a history of domestic violence or addiction problems, courts may order sole parental responsibility to the other parent.

However, for the most part, Florida statutes favor parenting plans that allow both parents to be active and consistent players in the lives of their children.

While this is often the case, it is not always the case. Every situation and every family is different, so it can be crucial to discuss your specific concerns and questions about child custody with an attorney if you are in this situation. Getting the answers you need can be of great relief in preparing for the difficult road ahead.

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