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Childrens’ Issues in Palm Beach County, Florida

Author: rich smukler

The court will always place the needs of the children first in the scheme of considering divorce. And, there are so many issues to be considered: Parenting Plans and Co-parenting plans, blended families, custody and support, needs of children, impact on relationships, child abuse, paternity, grandparents rights, just to name a few.


Parental Responsibilty: The court shall order shared parental responsibility unless it would be detrimental to the child. With shared responsibility both parents retain full parental rights and responsibilities and shall confer with each other on major decisions affecting the child’s welfare.

The Parenting Plan – The Florida statute now requires that cases involving minor children have a parenting plan that, at a minimum, describes:
1. How the parents will share and be responsible for daily tasks.
2. A time-sharing schedule.
3. Who will be responsible for health care and school-related matters.
4. How the parents will communicate with the child.

In Florida there is no presumption for or against the father or mother. There is no presumption as to any specific time- sharing schedule. The Florida Supreme Court has approved three basic sample parenting plans as a guideline to work from. Mediators will often tell the parties that regardless of the choice of plan, it should operate as a fall-back or default plan as modifications can occur as the child gets older and situations change. Florida sample plan Form 12.995(a).

-Child Support: Child support is governed by F.S.61.29. The public policy of the State of Florida is that each parent has an obligation to support his or her minor or legally dependant child. Guidelines are based on the parents’ combined net monthly income and presumptively establish the amount of child support. The court can deviate plus or minus 5% of the guideline amount after considering all relevant factors such as the child’s needs, age, station in life, standard of living, and the financial status and ability of each parent. Florida Statutes 61.29

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