Florida parents considering filing for divorce or who are currently in the throes of divorce, have a lot to think about, and a top priority is to make sure their children have everything they need to adapt to a new way of life. Children need emotional support to help them cope with what is happening. Signing a child custody agreement means parents have developed a plan and agree to abide by the terms of that plan. Having a customized child custody agreement to fit a family’s needs and ultimate goals regarding children helps parents and their kids and may go a long way in avoiding disputes.
Types of custody
There are two types of child custody — physical and legal. Physical custody pertains to where the children will live and whether they will travel between two households or reside full time in one parent’s home or the other. Legal custody refers to decision-making authority. Will both parents share this responsibility, or will one request sole legal custody? These are common custody issues; however, what applies in one case may be irrelevant to another, which is why it’s important to make sure an agreement addresses children’s specific needs.
When disagreements can’t be resolved
Parents may have differing parenting styles, which is not uncommon in any situation. It can create legal issues if parents can’t achieve an agreement regarding custody, child support or visitation. Perhaps one parent believes it would be better for everyone to spend time together around the holidays, but the other parent doesn’t agree. In these instances, it is fine to ask the court to intervene to make that decision. A family court judge will make that decision based on what he or she believes to be in the best interests of the children.
For instance, a judge might rule that sole custody is best because one parent has a substance abuse problem. In another, a judge might rule that parents should share custody 50/50. No matter the specifics or challenges of one’s situation, having guidance from an experienced attorney can prove invaluable toward achieving the best possible outcome.