Palm Beach County Custody and Time-Sharing Attorneys

Serving clients throughout Palm Beach County, including: Boca Raton, Palm Beach Gardens and West Palm Beach, FL

Whittel & Melton, LLC
3700 Airport Road #303
Boca Raton, FL 33431
Phone: (561) 367-8777

It is the experience of the Palm Beach County Divorce attorneys at Whittel & Melton, LLC that parents seeking divorce are generally misinformed about their roles in their children's lives. For generations, the conventional thinking was that mothers of children of divorce were the "primary" caregivers in divorce scenarios. And most people believed that Fathers were "secondary" caregivers. This was based in traditional notions that Fathers worked outside the home, and that Mothers were always the at-home parent. Much has changed in society and in the law making child custody more equitable and focused on the best interests of the children.

Today, since many Mothers work outside the home, parenting duties and responsibilities now are more evenly split between both parents. In 2008, the Florida Legislature rewrote Chapter 61 of the Florida Family Law Statutes to redefine how the courts were to view roles of each parent. For example, the terms "custody" and "visitation" are no longer a part of Florida Statutes. Designations of a "primary residential parent" or a "secondary residential parent" have also been eliminated. Instead, divorce cases involving children are now required to have a Parenting Plan that enumerates how and when time-sharing will occur between parents and children. Neither party gets a priority in time-sharing unless a judge gives one party more responsibility based on the other parent's abuse, neglect, or egregious domestic violence on the other.

Boca Raton, FL Child Custody Attorney

The bottom line is that although the terminology has changed, fundamentally, the amount of time each child spends with each parent and when those visits will occur will still be specifically addressed in each and every case. In the event parties are unable to agree on a Parenting Plan, the Judge will order that a court-created Parenting Plan be followed. The goal is to keep both parents involved in a child's life including being directly involved in decisions on education and medical issues, child care facilities, religious observances and travel.

Boyton Beach, FL Parenting Plan Attorney

The Parenting Plan has several requirements, and is required in all divorces. Some requirements include:

  • Written description about how the parents will share the responsibility for the daily tasks of raising the child
  • A time sharing schedule that designates when the child will spend time with each parent
  • Who is responsible for paying for healthcare and who is responsible for taking the child to appointments
  • Who will be responsible for school and extracurricular activities, including what school district will be used for public education and who will be responsible for the costs associate with private school tuition

Sometimes, the parents cannot come to an agreement on a Parenting Plan. The courts created a Parenting Coordination Program, which helps parents find common ground. It is essentially mediation for creating a Parenting Plan and the “parenting coordinator” is the mediator.

Under this program, both parents must pay a retainer fee and an hourly rate for the work done by the coordinator. The court can decide whether one or both parents are responsible for the cost. Usually both parents are required to pay, but sometimes if one parent is uncooperative, that parent will be ordered to pay.

If the parents are still unable to reach an agreement after participating I the Parenting Coordination Program, the court will make your parenting plan. The court usually takes the recommendations of the parenting coordinator into consideration into consideration when creating the plan.

West Palm Beach, FL Child Custody Lawyer

If you have questions about your time-sharing case, the Hernando County child custody attorneys at Whittel & Melton, LLC have answers.

We help residents throughout Palm Beach County navigate the Child Custody process and ensure that children's best interests are protected including these communities: Boca Raton, West Palm Beach, Boyton Beach, Palm beach Gardens, Jupiter, Delray Beach and Wellington. Please contact us at (561) 367-8777 or online to schedule a time to discuss your case.