Child Custody Lawyer Mike Mackhanlall
When parents contact the firm asking about “child custody” they are often referring to what is known in Florida as “Time Sharing.” Time Sharing is a portion of an agreement that is referred to as a “Parenting Plan.” What happens is that parents, before a divorce or separation from their significant other, soon come to the realization that the other parent of their child may have different ideas for the child’s future than they do. The State of Florida attempts to address these issues by providing these parents with the opportunity to draft what is referred to as a “Parenting Plan.” These Parenting Plans allow for shared parental responsibility and set forth terms under which the parents make decisions, as well as the times at which they can be physically present with the child. This setting of times at which the parents can be physically present with the child (holidays, weekends, weekdays, etc.) is referred to as the Time Sharing portion of the Parenting Plan (often referred to as Child Custody).
These Parenting Plan agreements are an excellent idea for couples who share a child in common, but were never married. This is so because conflict may arise in the 18yrs before the child reaches the age of majority and having an agreement set into place provides each parent with the peace of mind to look to the agreement in order to determine what their rights and obligations are with regards to the dispute. Additionally, should a dispute arise and there is a parent in breach of the Parenting Plan, the Miami Family Courts can step in and enforce the agreement. These agreements are actually mandatory for Florida residents who have children in common and are submitting a Petition for Dissolution (divorce).
Petition for Determination of Paternity and Related Relief
We frequently meet with clients who have never been married but have children in common with a former partner. If this is the situation in your case, and you want to more firmly establish your own rights and those of your child, a Petition for Determination of Paternity and Related Relief is in order.
Petition for Determination of Paternity and Related Relief. This Petition requests that the Court:
- Legally establish paternity
- Establish child support
- Establish a time-sharing schedule and parental responsibility
Florida Statute 61.13
This link provides further information regarding these topics: Child support and time-sharing are covered by Florida Statute 61.13 in the same way as a traditional divorce case. Our sections on divorce cover child support and child custody for more information.
It is imperative that you take this legal action if you want to ensure that your rights are protected in the event that the relationship between you and your former partner becomes difficult. If law enforcement intervention is necessary in your case, you must have a court order for the police to be able to help you. You also must have a court order to enforce child support. Without a court order, the enforcement mechanisms such as wage garnishment, driver’s license suspension, IRS tax return interception and incarceration are all unavailable until you use the Court to establish child support.
Free Child Custody Consultations
If you have any questions about Florida Child Custody matters, we can help. Give us a call in order to receive a Free Consultation with an attorney; call us at 407-926-6613.