Same-sex marriages are legal across the country due to a 2015 Supreme Court decision. If you can get married, you can also get divorced. But how does that affect your child custody rights in Florida? Read on to learn more.
Establishing Parental Rights in Florida
Parental rights are necessary for child custody. In Florida, custody is referred to as several things, including time-sharing and parental responsibility. Under Florida law, there’s a presumption that equal time-sharing is in every child’s best interest. This helps your child develop and grow in their relationship with each parent.
However, it’s important to note that parents are typically the only ones with rights. Without parental rights, you may not be entitled to equal time-sharing. Prior to the divorce, you must establish legal parenthood.
Here are some examples of when establishing legal parental rights may be important:
- If you and your spouse got married when your spouse already had their own child, you need to adopt that child to establish parental rights.
- If your child was born during your marriage, you both need to adopt the child.
- If you’re a non-biological parent, you should adopt the child or include your name on the birth certificate.
Without taking these steps, you may not have any rights as they relate to your child.
If you’ve established your parental rights, a Florida court will look at several factors in determining time-sharing responsibilities:
- The ability of each parent to provide a stable home
- The individual relationships each parent has with the child
- The child’s preference, if they can show they’re of an age to state a preference
This process is similar to the process courts follow for any divorce involving minor children. Establishing parental rights is crucial to ensuring that you can continue playing an important role in your child’s life after divorce.
Time-Sharing & Child Support in Florida
Once you’ve established your parental rights, you and your spouse are both considered parents with full legal rights. This means you’re both at the same time-sharing stage, where the court begins with a presumption of equality.
When considering which parent should be the primary custodial parent, the court will also consider whether to award child support. The primary time-sharing parent is the one whose address will be used for your child’s school and where your child may spend the weekdays so that they have a regular routine for school.
This is why it’s a good idea to try to work out your differences and reach an agreement with your spouse regarding time-sharing. Consider who will have your child on what days, including holidays, summer breaks, and other times important to your family. Doing this together relieves the court of this responsibility and keeps more control in your hands.
When considering whether to award child support, a court looks to several additional factors:
- Both parent’s financial status and earning potential
- The ability of one parent to provide financial support
The idea behind child support is to keep your child in the same or similar position as though the marriage were still intact. However, if paying child support would hinder one spouse’s ability to support their post-divorce life, a court is hesitant to award support.
Contact an Orlando Family Attorney Today to Discuss Child Custody and Support
Divorce is complex. It’s never easy, and it’s always exacerbated by underlying factors, like whether you’ve been able to establish your parental rights. To help you figure out your legal options and how to move forward, contact an experienced family law attorney.
Conti Moore Law, PLLC
815 N Magnolia Ave Suite 100
Orlando, FL 32803