As technology continues to move forward, virtual visitation is a practical tool being discussed and utilized in family court systems as part of divorce proceedings. Florida and other states already have laws in place that permit the use of virtual visitation, which allows noncustodial parents and their children to enjoy time together through such methods as video conferencing and social networks. Courts in some states that currently do not have specific legislation are allowing this form as well as part of an approved parenting plan and custody order.
Divorced Florida parents sometimes decide to move to a new location in order to get a fresh start. However, there are certain requirements that a custodial parent must meet before relocating with a child, especially if the new location is out of state.
When parents are engaged in a child custody dispute, they are likely to hear the phrase "best interests of the child" in court. People with child custody cases may not understand what the phrase means in a legal sense. In Florida, the best interests of the child refers to the idea that courts make custody decisions designed to ensure the child's best outcomes in terms of their health, welfare and safety.
Parents undergoing a child custody dispute can expect that most family courts will assign parents shared responsibility for their children, even when one parent may have primary residential or physical custody. Custody decisions encompass more than just determining with which parent a child will primarily live. It also involves courts determining how major decisions that affect the children's lives will be made.
A parenting plan is a blueprint for the resolution of challenges that parents and their children may face prior to, during and following a dissolution of a marriage. Florida law changed the way that parenting issues are governed in divorce proceedings in 2008, and the biggest change is the requirement that a parenting plan be developed for every child involved in an action for dissolution of a marriage.
A push for shared parenting has resulted in an unprecedented change, with more Florida fathers are becoming single parents. During the last several decades, courts have made decisions regarding custody by considering the best interests of the child, which has resulted in a disproportionate number of custody decisions favoring the mothers. However, as more fathers push for joint custody, more mothers have decided to give up their portion of custody.
Florida residents may have heard of two fathers who were recently re-united with their sons. While both California men had shared custody agreements with the mother after their divorces, she purposely kept the children in Europe after her authorized vacation with them had ended. She not only kept the children, she also changed their names and appearance, and moved around often in order to avoid returning them to America and negotiating new child custody agreements with their fathers.