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It is the public policy of Florida that children have frequent and continuing contact with both parents after the parents separate and/or the divorce is finalized. At this time, there are no presumptions for or against the mother or father or for or against any specific timesharing schedule. However, the courts in the Jacksonville and surrounding counties have adopted two sets of timesharing schedules/guidelines, local and long distance, if the parties are unable to reach an agreement on their own.
Whether your case is a divorce with minor children or a case establishing paternity, the court will require a document called a parenting plan; a parenting plan describes in detail how the parents will share and be responsible for the daily tasks associated with the upbringing of the child, the time-sharing schedule (who, what, where, and when) and other important considerations involving your children such as healthcare costs, school-related matters and extra-curricular activities.
If your custody case involves serious concerns including, but not limited to, domestic violence, mental illness, and alcohol and substance abuse issues then it may detrimental to the child for the parents to share parental responsibility and/or have unrestricted access to the child. Therefore, the court may award sole parental responsibility to one parent if an analysis of the factors in Florida Statue 61.13(3) supports the decision. In addition, the court may make arrangements for time-sharing as specified in the parenting plan that will best protect the child or abused spouse from further harm or establish conditions that will allow for a reunification between the child and parent, provided those conditions are completed successfully. Obtaining the necessary relief and safeguards stated herein to ensure your child’s safety will most likely require extensive litigation and aggressive representation to prove or defend your case. If these concerns or allegations are present in your case, contact one of our experienced Jacksonville trial attorneys immediately for a consultation.