Saturday, April 2, 2011

Custody and Visitation - A Thing of The Past

“You’ll have to fight me for custody.” If you watch a family drama on TV, you’re bound to hear this phrase between arguing parents. However, the Florida Legislature doesn’t like that term anymore and rarely awards sole custody and unilateral decision making to one parent.  A Parenting Plan is the new wave in child custody and visitation laws. Parenting Plans spell out the responsibilities of each parent as they relate to their children’s overall upbringing, including health, education, religion, and social activities. Each parent now has a “shared responsibility” in the general welfare of their children.  In the spirit of collaboration, the legislature has also replaced “visitation” with “time-sharing.” Parents don’t visit their children anymore; children share their time between both parents. The time-sharing schedule is laid out in the Parenting Plan.  The Florida Legislature no longer wants to punish either parent but equalize their responsibilities in raising their children. In family mediation parents put their differences aside and create a plan where both parents have a say in their children's lives.  Family TV dramas are bound to catch up with the new law.  TV's future tag line - “Well, we’ll work this out in our Parenting Plan.”

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