Changes In Law Regarding Children And Parents
It used to be the case that fathers were at a disadvantage under Florida’s family law code when it came to obtaining custody of or securing visitation of children after a divorce. Changes to the law, however, have significantly changed how the courts determine post-marriage parental responsibilities, and fathers’ rights are now equal to those of mothers.
If you are considering filing for divorce, it’s good idea to contact an attorney who can provide more information on the laws likely to determine the outcome of your case. This is especially true if you are particularly concerned about maintaining your parental rights.
How Fathers’ Rights Have Changed
Florida family laws once included a “tender years doctrine” that led courts to favor mothers when it came to awarding custody of children. This was based on the belief that mothers were intrinsically better caregivers than fathers. Revisions to divorce-related statutes, though, have removed the tender years doctrine, and courts are supposed to no longer favor gender in determining parental arrangements.
This is not the only significant revision affecting fathers’ rights to have been implemented in recent years. Other important laws include:
- The abolishment of select custodial terms. Family law statutes no longer include the terms “custodial parent” or “non-custodial parent.” The terms “primary residential parent” and one “secondary residential parent” have also been omitted from laws. Both a mother and father are simply identified as “parents.”
- The establishment of a system of time-sharing. In the past, courts deemed one parent as the main caregiver with the other parent receiving “visitation” rights. This is no longer the case; instead, both parents are expected to share in caregiving duties via a time-sharing arrangement.
- Establishment of parenting plans. Time-sharing arrangements are outlined in parenting plans. If a divorcing couple is unable to agree to a parenting plan, the court will determine the arrangement for parenting responsibility.
Many people regard these developments as beneficial to the cause of fathers’ rights in the state of Florida. The reason for this is that mothers were often seen to be designated the custodial parent by virtue of historical precedent. As the law now decrees that parenting responsibilities should be shared as much as possible, a hierarchical relationship no longer exists between parents.
Obtaining Legal Advice For A Divorce
Questions about parenting time are very common among couples seeking divorce. This may partly be true given the relatively recent developments in the family law code. For those advocating for expanded fathers’ rights in divorce laws, these changes represent a victory.
While fathers are viewed by the law to be on equal footing to mothers when it comes to child-rearing, it’s important to avoid taking it for granted that you will receive equal parenting time. A court can keep consider many factors in establishing parenting plans.
It’s a good idea to have an attorney in a divorce case to protect your parental rights. This person can inform you about all issues relating to divorce and children.