In 2016, the Florida legislature voted in favor of a bill that would make shared parenting the default in child custody cases. However, the governor vetoed the bill. A number of states are moving toward encouraging shared parenting although legislating it remains somewhat controversial.
Parents in Florida and elsewhere are ideally looking out for the best interest of their children after a divorce. However, there are times when they try to use their children to punish their former spouses. In some cases of parental alienation, the manipulating parent will convince the child that he or she is the one responsible for acting out against the other parent.
When parents divorce in Florida, the whole family is deeply affected. This is true even if the divorce is the best possible outcome, such as in cases where abuse or addiction are significant factors. While the adults are often trying to process legitimate grief, hurt and trauma, the reality is that the children are the most important priority at this time.
Many Florida parents on the verge of a divorce may believe that dads may not be involved with the children as much as when the parents were married. However, many dads are actually interested in maintaining a strong relationship with their children. The main challenge with this is dealing with child custody, visitation rights and learning how to co-parent successfully.
Florida parents considering divorce might also be getting ready for a fight for custody with their ex-spouse. In the past, many courts have awarded physical custody to one parent, with the other usually seeing their children one night a week and every other weekend. However, this might be changing as evidence is gathered that supports the concept of shared custody as the most beneficial arrangement for children.
Even though the benefits of shared parenting arrangements are known, physical custody of the children is still awarded to the mother most of the time in divorce courts in Florida and around the country. While this is often done to give the children stability, studies show that the quality of child-parent relationships is what benefits the children the most.