Child custody, or time sharing, is a complicated decision made by a family court. It involves a combination of parenting plans, child support payments, and time sharing or visitation schedules. The whole process can be an emotional, painful, and upsetting experience for the family involved, most especially the children.
Time sharing /child custody denotes to the amount of time a child or the children spend with each parent. The goal is to make a legal document that grants one or each parent a specific amount of time. Though in this situation, the child’s best interest is the main priority.
Different Types of Child Custody/Time Sharing
Equal Time Sharing: Both parents are awarded an equal number of overnight throughout the year. This is a complete 50/50 split and the schedule is usually based around parental work schedules and the child’s schooling calendar, if there is one.
Majority Time Sharing: One parent has overnights for 50.1% or more throughout the year. This parent is usually referred to as the primary residential parent and is commonly used as the basis for school enrollment. For instance, the child spends four nights every week with his mother and spends the weekend with his father, then the mother would be considered to have the majority time sharing.
Supervised Time Sharing: The judge may require the presence of a third person for any visits between a child and parent. This happens if there are earlier cases or allegations of child abuse, family violence, alcohol dependence, drug abuse, neglect, or untreated severe mental health conditions.
Factors Affecting Time Share
A judge considers numerous factors before making a final decision regarding the timeshare agreement. Here are some of the common factors:
- The willingness of a parent to honor the time sharing schedule, encourage a relationship between the other parent and the child, as well as engage in their child’s activities
- The affection, love, and other emotional ties present between the parent and the child
- Each parent’s ability to put their personal needs after the needs of their child
- The child’s community, school, and home record
- The permanence, as a family unit, of the proposed or existing custodial home/homes
- The child’s desire (if he or she is at the right age to decide, typically at the age of twelve)
- The emotional, mental, and physical health of the parents
- The home environment (whether it offers stability for the child or not)
- Past troubles (g., domestic violence, child endangerment, or child abuse)
There are other nuanced, complex factors involved in the proceedings of child custody or time sharing. Each custody court case differs. It is difficult to state how your case will turn out given the various factors that affect the result of your case. But in some states, like Florida, equal time sharing custody decisions and equal parenting are more favored.
The Wishes Of The Parents In The Divorce
While the court gives more emphasis on the best interests of the children in the court, the wishes of the parents are not set aside entirely. For example, the court can simply approve the time sharing agreement for both parents if they agree on how visitation time, as well as physical and legal custody, should be spent. This is not automatic, though, the judge will review the agreement to ensure it is fair to each parent and the child.
Is Getting Sole Custody Possible?
Yes, it is possible for you to seek and obtain a sole custody. Just keep in mind that the effort you will need to give up o achieve this will be more than doubled. Your divorce or custody lawyer will have to be willing to fight for your wish and would have to prove to the court that excluding the parent is in the best interest of your child. Typically, this is only considered when the other parent has a previous or current criminal histroy, violence against children, severe and untreated mental illness, or voluntarily waives their rights away.
Even in such types of cases, the court may still attempt to encourage some relationship between child and parent through supervised visitation if it is believed to be in the best interest of the child.
Is Getting A Lawyer Required For A Divorce Or Custody Case?
It is not necessarily required to hire an attorney in the child custody or time sharing a case. But since the process is complex, you still need support and assistance from a professional who has a deep understanding and expertise in this field. Your time sharing/child custody agreements tell the amount of time you can spend with your child. You might end up with less than you actually deserve if there is no one to represent you in the court. So, it is essential to prepare yourself and go to court with an experienced custody lawyer.