Divorce is never easy, and it's especially difficult for couples with children. Divorce completely changes a family and how it works, from decisions about who gets the kids on the weekends to who's going to pay for dance classes or sports equipment. These changes in family dynamics are especially apparent at the beginning of the school year, a time of explaining to others the co-parenting situation and all the awkwardness that comes with that.
In divorce situations involving children, parents have to make some tough decisions. Sometimes a successful arrangement can be agreed upon between both parents. Other times, court intervention may be required to come up with arrangements that work for everyone. That being said, child custody is about doing what is in the best interest of the child, and there is a lot of flexibility to do that.
For many divorced parents, summer break is a time filled with contention and strife. Arguments about how to schedule activities around the existing child custody arrangement can define the entire summer, making things harder for both parents and children. There are ways that Florida parents can work to reduce this tension and enjoy what should be weeks of fun, relaxation and family bonding.
Many Florida residents are aware that legislators have been debating multiple changes to the manner in which family law is handled within the state. Specifically, a bill that would change both alimony and child custody law has been making its way through the legislative process, and was recently presented to Florida Governor Rick Scott. That bill was vetoed by Scott, which marks the second time he has stopped legislation centered on these issues over the past three years. The move has led to continued debate on the issue, with strong opinions on both sides.
When Florida parents are unable to come to an agreement on the care and custody of shared children, the matter often ends up going before a family court. When there are matters of international jurisdiction, these cases can become incredibly complex and can drag on for many years. The Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (commonly known as the Hague Convention) was put into place to help nations determine how to proceed when a child within their borders is subject to a child custody case in another jurisdiction.
Anyone in Florida who has gone through a custody battle knows just how emotionally tumultuous and challenging that experience can be. Most child custody cases are carried out between two biological parents and center on the care and custody of shared children. There are other types of cases, however, where the players do not fit that mold. An example is found in the recent case of a foster family fighting over the right to raise a little girl who has been in their home for the past four years.
A piece of proposed legislation has passed the Florida Senate and is making its way to the House. The controversial bill would require family court judges to approach each child custody case with the presumption that a 50/50 division of custody is the best outcome for shared children. That has sparked a great deal of debate within the state, and there are strong opinions on both sides of the matter.
As our nation continues to adapt to changing views on marijuana use, Florida and other states struggle with how to balance the rights of adults with the obligation to protect the safety of children. In some instances, parents can lose their child custody rights when marijuana use is an issue. This is true of recreational use, and is also true for those who use marijuana for medical purposes.
Florida readers may have seen or read media coverage of a highly contentious child custody case that led to three children being sent to juvenile detention. The matter made headlines after a judge found the kids -- ages 9, 11 and 14 -- in contempt for refusing to attend a scheduled lunch visit with their father. In an unexpected move, the same judge recently removed herself from that child custody case.
An unusual and disturbing case is making its way through the legal system and will be heard before one state's Supreme Court. At issue in the case is whether a parent should lose his or her parental rights over financial struggles. The matter may end up before the U.S. Supreme Court, and the outcome could impact child custody cases in Florida and across the nation.