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Understanding child custody can alleviate fears

Coming to the decision to end your marriage can cause a myriad of emotions such as stress, anger and even fear. This is especially true for Florida parents who fear that they will not get to spend enough time with their children after the divorce. An understanding of how child custody issues are resolved could help put each parent's mind at ease.

Most parents agree that the goal is to do what is best for the children. The disagreements arise because a couple may not see eye-to-eye on what that is. For couples who need a Florida judge to help them determine visitation and child custody arrangements, the best interests of the child is also the standard used by the courts.

The financial and emotional concerns of the parents are removed from the equation by the court. In the absence of extreme circumstances, parents are encouraged to create a parenting plan that accounts for the day-to-day care of their children, how major decisions such as religion, schooling and the like will be handled, along with how the children's time will be split between the parents. Issues such as major holidays, birthdays and other important events in the children's lives are also addressed.

The nature of child custody agreements is undergoing a metamorphosis away from the traditional model where one parent is given "primary custody" and the other parent is relegated to weekends and holidays. Florida parents are encouraged to negotiate a parenting plan that fits their family and provides each parent the opportunity to continue to be as involved in the children's lives as possible. For many parents, just knowing that they will have the opportunity to be there for their children is enough to get them to sit down at the negotiating table instead of engaging in a court battle that not only costs time and money, but can also tear their families apart.

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