When Latina Pop Superstar Paulina Rubio confronted her ex-husband in a Miami court, the feelings were less than amicable. In fact, the court erupted into an all-out screaming match. Rubio and her former spouse are battling over the custody of their child, and neither side is backing down — Rubio is refusing to share custody. Since the two parties can’t reach an amicable agreement, the court is responsible for forming the parenting plan.
Under Florida law, every divorcing couple with children must create a parenting plan. If the couple can agree to the terms, they will submit it to the court for approval. If the couple can’t agree, the court makes its own parenting plan. The parenting plan determines each parent’s responsibilities, including the time-sharing schedule (custody), daily child rearing tasks and decision-making authority. Further, a parenting plan specifies any technology that is used for the parent and child to communicate with each other.
When considering parental issues, Florida bases decisions on the best interest of the child standard. The Florida statutes include a specific list of factors to take into consideration when approving or developing a parenting plan, including:
- Moral, mental and physical health of the parents
- Child’s home, school and community record
- Child’s preference, if the child is mature enough to express such a preference
- Parents’ ability to facilitate a continuing relationship between the child and the other parent
- Geographic issues
- Evidence of domestic violence, child abuse or false accusations
It is very rare for the court to order sole parental responsibility to one parent. For this to occur, the court would need to find that shared parenting would cause harm to the child. Generally, it is in the best interest of the child to spend time with both parents. However, it is advisable to have legal counsel in all aspects of the process to ensure your parental rights are protected. Hiring an experienced family law attorney can make all the difference.