Florida Family Law Remains Unchanged with Governor’s Veto of Proposed Legislation
A look at child custody and child support
Florida Governor Rick Scott’s recent veto of proposed changes to Florida’s alimony and child sharing laws puts to rest the recent legislative battle over Florida family law. Alimony and child custody have been a hot topic in the Florida legislature for years; any changes to the law would impact more than 800,000 divorces filed each year.
Governor Scott, in his veto communication, expressed that “…when a divorce involves a minor child, the needs of the child must come before all others.” This is, in a nutshell, what is at the core of family law: a desire to protect the children of divorce and act in their best interests. Often times, divorcing parents have differing views regarding what is best for their children and that is when the Florida courts step in. If you are considering divorce, it is important to understand Florida family law and how it works.
Child custody laws are designed to protect children
When two divorcing parents cannot agree on terms for custody of their children, this decision falls into the hands of Florida child custody courts. A judge will determine the custody arrangement based on your child’s best interests. Many factors can be considered in making this determination and, generally, more weight is given to those factors that affect your child’s health and safety.
Among the considerations are:
- Which parent is more likely to provide daily care for the physical, educational, developmental and other needs of the child
- Which parent is more likely to allow and encourage frequent contact between the child and the other parent
- Which parent will most likely provide a loving, consistent, nurturing relationship with the child
In addition to the above, Florida court can also consider other factors that focus on the child, including your child’s relationship with any siblings, the child’s preference concerning which parent receives custody, and the need for continuity in the child’s education, family life and community. Consideration may also be given to whether either parent has any past or present physical abuse, a history of alcohol or drug abuse, or certain criminal charges and convictions.
Who pays child support?
Florida child support guidelines establish that consideration be given to the income of both parents, child care costs, costs of healthcare, and the standard needs of the child when determining child support. The parenting plan is also a factor in determining child support, specifically how much time each parent is spending with the child. Support is generally paid to the parent with whom the child is spending most of their time. In calculating child support, the courts examine the parent’s financial records and income.
Experienced legal representation matters
Divorce, alimony and child custody are serious matters that call for skilled, experienced legal representation. Don’t take a chance with your child’s future. Mark G. Rodriguez is an accomplished Tampa family law attorney with more than 30 years experience navigating the complexities of Florida family law, acting on his clients’ behalf to fight for what is best for them and their families. Call the Law Offices of Mark G. Rodriguez today at (813) 227-9642 or contact them online to schedule a free consultation.