child custody



Child custody is an extremely emotional issue because it involves decisions that affect not only the parents but the children as well.

“Child custody” is a term that is no longer used by the Florida courts. Rather, the terms used relate to parental responsibility and time-sharing. When evaluating and making determinations regarding parental responsibility and time-sharing, the court will always  do so based upon the Best Interest of the Child.

In Florida, it is the policy of the courts that minor children have “frequent and continuing contact with both parents after the parents separate or the marriage of the parties is dissolved and to encourage parents to share the rights and responsibilities, and joys, of child-rearing.”

Issues regarding children are emotionally charged. It is often difficult for parents to set aside negative feelings about each other and to work together to reach agreements regarding their children. However, it is important that parents focus on the needs of the children and cooperate in putting together a parenting plan that is in the best interest of the children and that will allow them to co-parent in a positive way.

A parenting plan is simply a document that is filed with and approved by the court that addresses a variety of issues related to the minor children. Under Florida statute, a parenting plan must contain the following information:

  • Describe in adequate detail how the parents will share and be responsible for the daily tasks associated with the upbringing of the child.
  • Include the time-sharing schedule arrangements that specify the time that the minor child will spend with each parent.
  • Designate who will be responsible for health are, school-related matters, and other activities.
  • Describe in adequate detail the methods and technologies that the parents will use to communicate with the child.

Parents are permitted to submit a parenting plan to the court for approval or the court may make its own decisions regarding parental issues.  

In Florida, each parent is required to complete a parenting course before a divorce will be granted by the court.  Additionally, minor children may also be required to attend a class.

Parenting plans can be complex and there are a variety of factors to consider when creating a parenting plan.  Our attorneys can assist you in putting together a parenting plan that address all of the parental issues relevant to you and your family and that is in the best interest of your children.

Contact us today to schedule your free and confidential consultation with one of our New Tampa Divorce Attorneys! Our offices are located in Tampa Palms and are convenient to Wesley Chapel, Lutz, and all of Hillsborough and Pasco counties.