Child custody issues before the divorce
Florida parents who are getting a divorce might be faced with the issue of temporary custody for their children. In the earliest stages, with no legal solution in place, custodial rights are equal, but it is best for children and parents if some guidelines are put in place.
Parents need to reach some sort of agreement about how custody will play out during the divorce. Structure is important at this time. It may be unrealistic to expect time to be split 50/50 between parents, but the custody arrangement should allow children to spend ample time with each. Parents should be flexible and communicative. For example, one parent might be unable to take the children on one custody weekend. Parents should avoid using their children to exchange messages. Courts will consider it a mark against a parent who does not communicate with the other. Parents should also avoid conflict in front of children or making them feel that they need to take sides.
Parents should make decisions that are in the best interests of the child. For example, this could mean the child spending more time with the parent who is still living in the family home since this is more familiar territory. Military parents should be realistic about how their job schedule and potential deployments affect their availability.
Parents might want to formalize a temporary legal agreement for custody and visitation for the period of time that the divorce is in process. These custody orders might remain in place after the divorce or they might change. Parents may want to negotiate this with one another since they may have more flexibility and control. However, a parent who is concerned about a child’s well-being because of issues like domestic abuse or addiction might want to go to court to try to restrict the other parent’s access to the child.