Divorces Involving Children in Florida

The cost of a divorce can increase rapidly if children are involved. Unfortunately, the less the parents agree, the more the divorce will likely end up costing. If a couple disagrees on most issues the court steps in to dictate details of child custody from timesharing to visitation procedures.

Mandatory Parenting Class

Even if the parents agree during a divorce, Florida requires both parents to take a Florida Parent Education and Family Stabilization Course if there are children under the age of 18. Both parents must be able to provide proof of completion of the course before a court will not finalize the divorce. The course is four hours long, can be taken online, and must be approved by the Florida Department of Children and Families.

Child Support In Florida

Parents do not choose the sum of child support in Florida no matter the circumstances. Child support, in all cases, will be calculated based on the Florida child support statute. The final number will consider the income of both parents, the time the parents will spend with the child, the number of children involved, and the child or children’s needs, along with other factors. Using this specific method the courts are able to reduce the disputes regarding this topic and consequently the cost of divorce.

Failure to pay child support can result in different consequences, depending on the parent’s circumstances. Unemployed parents who fail to pay could be ordered to enter a job training program or into a work program. The judge can also order the parent to seek employment. If employed, the funds for child support may be withheld from a parent’s pay check. In some cases, the parent may pay a Support Enforcement Institution, which distributes the funds to the other party. Therefore, if one parent fails to pay, the Support Enforcement can testify the failed payment in court instead of forcing the other parent to go to court.

Child Visitation In Florida

Commonly known as child custody, Florida terms the amount of time a parent will take care of a child as timesharing with minor children. The state determines who the child should spend more time with through a “best interests” test. While the state normally does not favor evenly splitting a child’s time, it will occasionally do so if it does not feel like such an arrangement would interfere with the child’s wellbeing or schooling. Factors generally considered when allocating a child’s time include but aren’t limited to the health and morality of the parents, parents responsibilities, parent’s knowledge of child’s interests, schooling, etc., and proof of parent’s care for the child’s needs. Occasionally psychologists and psychiatrists will be called in to help determine who the child or children should live primarily with.

Regardless of whose house the child spends more time in, Florida operates under a Shared Parental Responsibility law. This means that both parents must agree on how a child will be brought in regards to religion, discipline, health, education, etc. Parents who disagree on these factors must adhere to whatever ruling a judge passes down.

Parenting Plan

Because of Shared Parental Responsibility, the couple must create parenting plan for their children or child. This plan should include the time sharing schedule as well as some of the factors mentioned above, like health care and the education of the child along with other factors. If the parents cannot agree to a plan, the court will create one for the parents that they must adhere to.


With increasing frequency parents want to move after a divorce has been filed. However, a parent cannot move beyond 50 miles of his or her location for more than 60 days without the former spouses’ or the court’s consent. If a parent wishes to move more than 50 miles for whatever reason, he or she must obtain permission to do so.

If both parents agree to the move, they must modify the visitation schedule and submit any new arrangements to the court, which must approve of the plan before the parent can relocate. Additionally, anyone with visitation rights must approve of the plan.

The custodial parent must file a petition for relocation, which must explain why the move benefits the child, along with the consequences for the child for not moving. It must also include a revised visitation schedule, location of new home, and desired date of move. If the noncustodial parent doesn’t agree to the move, he or she has 30 days to contest the petition.

If both parents do not agree to the move, it will have to go to court. The court will place the needs of the child above the desires of the parents when considering a moving request. The judge will consider many factors such as the child’s relationship to parent who wants to move and how such a move would affect the child’s wellbeing.

Original article by floridaparentingclass.